Groove in the Lounge during the Fine Arts Building’s Second Friday
Chicago is known as one of the best cities in the world for architecture. One of the oldest structures along Michigan Avenue has been around since 1885: the Fine Arts Building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. It’s been known as the “Nation’s Oldest Artist Colony,” but that’s not how it began. It was first known as the Studebaker Building from 1885 – 1898 as their carriage assembly and showroom. According to the Fine Arts’ website, in 1890, the Studebaker brothers added 4 stories for the Art Institute to the building, which helps explain the two styles to the building’s exterior.
In 1898 there was an extensive renovation, and then it became known as an Artist’s Studio building. Artists, sculptors, writers, musicians and architects used these studios for over 100 years. In 1961, the Artists Cafe opened and remains a staple on Michigan Avenue with it’s charming lighted sign and counter seating. There’s free wi-fi, too!
Besides the Fine Art Building’s gorgeous exterior, it’s the restored interior which is definitely worth seeing. The elevators are original and still use hand operators; that alone is worth stopping in! You can tour the building alone or take a proper tour.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a $10 tour the first Tuesday of every month. If you don’t want to wait until August, then stop on by this Friday, July 11th from 5pm – 9pm, and explore all ten floors for free during their Second Friday Open Studios tour.
When you’re there, be sure to take a hand-operated elevator ride to the 5th floor to see Chicago Custom Costumes‘ gallery space. Vintage vinyl will be spun in the mid-century modernized lounge created by Chicago’s Brokenpress Design+Fabrication and Futility Studios. Brokenpress Design+Fabrication’s creates stunning furniture using fallen Chicago trees, along with steel and aluminum. Brokenpress’ main focus is audio component and vinyl record storage, but this lounge will feature rift-sawn hardwood tables and the Plotkin hutch in addition to the signature audio credenza. With vinyl making a big comeback, people need a place to store their records. Brokenpress offers many solutions. Futility Studios artfully brings the garage into the living room by reconstructing vintage car and motorcycle parts as unique lights suitable for any home, grotto, or (man)cave. Together, they pair up wonderfully.
Groove along with vintage sounds in their lounge on the 5th floor from 5-9pm this Friday, and enjoy the studios and works of other artists throughout the building at 410 S. Michigan Avenue. If you can’t make it, the Brokenpress and Futility lounge will be on display through July.