SOM in the Press

SOM Fashions Former Chicago Firehouse Into Bespoke Men’s Hat Atelier

Photo © Tom Rossiter

Source: Interior Design Magazine

Chicago is renowned for myriad phenomena. Jazz and the blues. Politics. Pizza. And, of course, architecture. But hats? Yes, according to Graham Thompson, founder of Optimo, a men’s hat company based in the city’s South Side. Steady growth over its 25-year existence has called for expansion—and a new space. It comes courtesy of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 82-year-old firm with significant ties to the city. ...

To re-envision it as a bona fide factory and showroom, Thompson’s dream was to enlist SOM ... Although a small endeavor, design partner Brian Lee saw an opportunity. "It’s a great story for the city,” the architect says, “helping to continue a rich history of craftsmanship in South Chicago.”

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