In the Press

SOM Converts Century-Old Chicago Firehouse into Optimo Hat Factory

Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has paired blackened steel with warm-toned wood at a new headquarters for hat maker Optimo, created inside a historic firehouse in Chicago.

The offices and production facilities are situated within a 100-year-old decommissioned firehouse in the Beverly neighbourhood on Chicago’s South Side. Founded 25 years ago, Optimo has developed a cult following for its handmade headpieces for men, ranging from classic felt fedoras to Panama straw hats. The company even offers a hat modelled after the one worn by Frank Lloyd Wright.