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Online Exclusive - Mercer One Thirteen, Chicago

Oct 24, 2012

By Alia Akkam


It could have been a cold and cavernous 6,000-square-foot space, but Mercer One Thirteen is all warmth, thanks to Rocco Laudizio’s imaginative design approach. For this sprawling restaurant/lounge in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Laudizio, founder of local (and Tampa, Florida-based) firm Slick + Design USA, transformed two former retail stores into one large, impressive urban amalgam of nature.

Laudizio and Mercer One Thirteen owner Roman Sanchez have been friends for over 20 years, yet this space marks the duo’s first collaboration. “Roman was very specific with his design narrative,” recalls Laudizio. “Green, earth, and forest-inspired textures, colors, and palettes drove the final organic concept.”

Muted hues were just the beginning for Laudizio, who dressed the interior walls with linear ledger stone tile and synthetic tree bark panels; finished off the custom wood floors with inlaid porcelain tiles; and clad the ceiling and striking columns with rich, two-tone French oak paneling and veneers.



These columns, Laudizio believes, are the highlights of the space. “Centered throughout them are LED lighting elements that illuminate grass images printed on glass. The LED colors change for different events and at different times of the day to create a unique ambiance and capture the essence of this modern forest,” he explains. 

Accentuating the great outdoors theme are floor-to-ceiling graphics depicting soothing nature scenes, as well as rainforest brown, veined marble bar tops. One wall, flaunting a glass-enclosed fireplace, suggests campfire coziness.
 
“We wanted to create a contemporary, intimate, and exclusive oasis,” says Laudizio.















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