Libart Retractable Enclosures in Chicago: Where are They Now?
Few American cities are as synonymous with architectural design as Chicago. But business owners in Chicago also have to deal with the Windy City’s famous seasonal weather changes. Operable glass structures like commercial skylights or retractable enclosures can conveniently marry great design with practical application. Libart is proud to partner with multiple business owners in Chicago in helping them create year-round experiences for their customers through the use of operable glass structures. These architectural marvels optimize space and create memorable experiences that keep customers coming back for more.
Below, you will find five Libart retractable enclosures in Chicago projects. For each project, you’ll find a description of the services Libart provided as well as an update on where these projects are today. We are proud to have been the provider for commercial skylight, retractable roof systems and restaurant enclosures for these projects.
The Boleo Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge features Clearsky retractable commercial skylights that provide ample daylighting when closed and plenty of fresh air when open.
According to the Kimpton Gray website, Boleo’s unique retractable skylight “lets the festivities happen year-round.” This gives Boleo the “cocktail culture on the roof” that provides the restaurant’s distinct ambiance.
Kayla Arthur, Assistant Director of Food & Beverage at the Kimpton Gray, said that the commercial skylight is one of the main selling points for the hotel.
“The skylight is the first thing customers see,” Arthur said. “It adds a wow-factor. You really can’t talk about Boleo without talking about the skylight.”
Even if customers have been to the hotel and seen the skylight before, it still captivates them because of the open-air feel and the gorgeous downtown views. The ability to give customers this ambiance year-round is a major value add for the Kimpton Gray.
“As we’re moving into summer, we know people around Chicago are looking for that open-air, rooftop experience,” said Arthur. “So for us, the skylight is a major part of our marketing efforts. If we’re not talking about our food options, we’re talking about the roof.”
Arthur said that the retractable skylight is featured in social media pictures and videos and is a key aspect of the hotel’s business. The versatility it offers the Kimpton Gray is a key differentiator for them in the Chicago hotel market.
For the complete featured story on the original project, visit the Libart USA website.
The American Junkie Restaurant and Night Club needed an open-air dance floor featuring crystal clear views of Chicago’s celebrated skyline. They were looking for a “wow” factor that would keep their customers coming back for more. Libart did just that by providing a 30’ x 30’ rooftop enclosure that offers the insulation needed as well as the desired view.
When American Junkie was purchased by Four Corners Tavern Group (which also owns Federales – another Libart project), the restaurant’s name was changed to Fremont. The new owners also made some renovations to the space, but they kept the rooftop enclosure. Four Corners Project Manager Matt Piekarz says that was due to the unforgettable “wow” factor it provides to customers.
“Most of our private events are held (at Fremont),” says Piekarz. “It’s really the ideal setting being under the city lights. I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback.”
Piekarz also said that he would recommend Libart’s products to other restaurants and businesses in Chicago.
“Even though Libart isn’t based in Chicago, whenever we’ve called on them, they’ve been here in a day or two,” Piekarz said.
This rooftop enclosure truly delivers an unforgettable experience for visitors to Fremont. It helps the restaurant take advantage of the downtown Chicago skyline and maximize the space for optimum engagement and return on investment.
The Godfrey Hotel has been featured in travel magazines like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure for its elegance and glamour as well as its fourth-floor, 15,000 square-foot event space. It offers premium urban views of Chicago’s legendary skyline. However, Chicago’s infamous weather makes it difficult to take advantage of those views year-round.
To give customers an unforgettable year-round experience, Libart created a custom roofscape that uses a fire-rated polycarbonate standing seam roof with 1” insulated glass that completely retracts to allow for a fully-opened space.
Since its installation, this retractable roof system has continued to impress. Customers repeatedly highlight the amazing views it offers as well as its equally impressive engineering. Sandi Robinson, Director of Sales for The Godfrey Hotel, says that guests are in awe when they see the roofscape for the first time.
“When guests walk in, they always stop to take photos and videos of the roofscape opening and closing,” said Robinson. “And guests don’t lose that amazing view due to weather. Its flexibility is awesome!”
Ease of use is another main selling point for this retractable enclosure. It can be easily opened and closed, ensuring that Chicago’s quick weather changes will not affect customer experience.
Hotel Lincoln provides year-long breathtaking rooftop views from its J. Parker restaurant through the use of a retractable roof enclosure totaling 2,000 square feet of space. This isn’t your average rooftop. With unique side corners and the need to allow maximum seating space, the J. Parker needed an equally unique solution.
Wesley Urschel of RATIO Architects was the project architect for the J. Parker. Having never seen a project of this scale before, Urschel reviewed three different manufacturers to find the right fit.
“Libart’s system, as a whole, was a little more solid than the others,” Urschel said. “The motors travelled with the system, and it allowed continuous access to the screen so customers can take in the gorgeous views. Libart was extremely helpful and easy to work with.”
Today, the J. Parker continues to benefit from the increased flexibility that Libart’s retractable roofscape provides. The enclosure allows the restaurant to be open every day – even when the weather outside is earning the Windy City its name. The fully-insulated glass used in the enclosure keeps customers comfortable even in the cold Chicago winters. The ability to keep the restaurant open year round has given the J. Parker clear return on investment.
Throughout the entire project, Libart worked with hotel ownership and the architects to ensure the project met the client’s needs and delivered a unique solution.
“Libart couldn’t have been more helpful,” Urschel said. “I never once heard, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ They always looked for ways to engineer a solution.”
The roofscape is also a favorite for customers, as they enjoy seeing it open and close. It has become one of the restaurant’s main selling points, and the unique experience it adds has kept customers coming back for more. This gives the J. Parker flexibility and maximum earning potential.
Visit the Libart Gallery Feature for more information on the original project.
Project manager Matt Piekarz had worked with Libart previously on the American Junkie project, so he knew the type of product we offer. He engaged with us on this project, and we began to explore options for this industrial West Loop bar.
Being in such a trendy location, Federales wanted to emphasize the fun atmosphere and create an open space. Libart created a custom, fully-retractable roofscape that allowed for the open floor plan and gave customers an outdoor feel. This has been a key differentiator for Federales.
“Not many places throughout the city have that open-air ambiance,” said Piekarz. “People love the open-air concept and, when the roof is open, most people don’t even recognize it’s there because it retracts so easily and seamlessly.”
The roof takes about one minute to retract, and it offers a premium experience whether it’s open or closed.
Since installation, Federales has continued to see success from their open-air space. The large open elements highlight the industrial look and feel of the bar and help create the fun atmosphere that has kept customers coming back again and again.
“We wanted open air when we came up with this concept,” said Piekarz. “Libart provided that with this retractable roof. It has truly been a game changer.”
Custom Operable Glass Solutions
At Libart, our focus is providing quality, custom solutions for our clients. As a leading provider in operable glass structures, we pride ourselves on finding eye-catching ways to fill practical needs. If your business could benefit from one of our custom operable glass structures, contact us to discuss your specific needs.