Miss Ricky’s at Virgin Hotels* – StudioGronda
Restaurant/Bar Miss Ricky’s at Virgin Hotels*Chicago, USA
Courtesy of Rockwell Group and Virgin Hotels. Completed while a Managing Director at Rockwell Group, Madrid. Photography © Eric Laignel.

The Classic American Diner Revisited

Eighty percent of the hotel’s historic street-level space is dedicated to food and beverage venues accessible from the sidewalk. The client wanted the F&B venues to look different from the hotel, to attract both out-of-town visitors and local residents and create a new social hub within the West Loop neighborhood. Miss Ricky’s is a classic American Diner with a modern twist. Its aesthetic is industrial yet contemporary, with suspended steel lamps, penny round tile flooring, and leather upholstered walls. Traditional diner-style booths and modern, circular booths are complemented by a fun collection of mostly vintage chairs set around wood or zinc tables. The diner’s color scheme is simple: silver, white, beige and dark grey, paired with some natural wood finishes.

A colorful large-scale installation anchors the diner’s entrance area, featuring cut-in-half men’s ties. The idea behind this installation was to welcome guests with a clear statement: this is not a corporate dining room. Ties off please! It also reflects Virgin founder Richard Branson’s disdain for formal dress code. Tucked behind a metal sliding door is a midcentury inspired casting room that can be booked for private events. The velvet perimeter curtain, movie set style lighting and gold embellished vintage ceiling add a touch of exclusivity and drama to the space.

*Completed while a Managing Director at Rockwell Group, Madrid.