Following its 35-year legacy as one of the nation's top destinations for globally sourced design and architectural statement pieces, Architectural Artifacts, Inc. (AAI) has reimagined a 35,000-square-foot Mid Century-style school to introduce its latest concept.
We've created a place that's unlike anything else in the world," said AAI founder Stuart Grannen in a statement. "After decades spent traveling the globe searching for interesting and evocative artifacts, I've built a collection that's unmatched no kidding, it's jaw-dropping. I can't wait to share these pieces in our new place, which celebrates the joy of the hunt but also brings people together. We've built a hub where people from all walks of life can eat, drink, host, shop and play under one roof."
Housed in the former Immaculate Conception St. Joseph School at 1065 N. Orleans St., Architectural Artifacts has something for everyone. Just a few of the offerings include a store with additional items for sale throughout the space; a European-inspired cafe with items from Chef Andrew Holladay; various classrooms that are flex meeting spaces; a bridal suite/green room; and even a gymnasium/pickleball court that can be converted into a ballroom.
In addition, a speakeasy bar will open in the fall.
Grannen and co-partner Robby Baum gave Windy City Times a tour of the not-quite-yet-finished space, providing a sneak peek of what it has to offer. (Baum even played pickleball with my friend, mentioning that even glow-in-the-dark pickleball can be played.) The tour also revealed hundreds of historical conversation pieces (from furniture to medicine bottles to a minicar) that are available for purchase; most artifacts come with QR codes that provide more information about them.
This writer certainly plans on returning.
Architectural Artifacts is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, visit architecturalartifacts.com .