The Past Is Present
Urban Archaeology brings its savvy salvage style to Chicago
This spring, New York City–based Urban Archaeology opens its first Midwest showroom in LuxeHome at the Merchandise Mart (Suite 108, 312-527-4627). The company started out in 1978 by salvaging and restoring old bathtubs, sinks, ranges, mirrors, screens, and other architectural elements, and has since begun offering tile and making high-quality reproductions of light fixtures, tables, and other pieces. It still sells salvaged goods, as well. "We backed into making product because it was what the customers wanted. Someone would come into the store and fall in love with a light fixture but want ten of them when we only had two," says owner Gil Shapiro. Even so, nothing here is mass-produced and just about everything can be customized. Bathtubs are carved from solid pieces of marble, and aluminum is hand cast the old-fashioned way. "I wanted to make things the way they were made 100 years ago," Shapiro says. The company's newest venture is the Metropolitan Collection, an original, modern-looking line of towel racks and hooks, pivoting mirrors, and other bathroom fixtures. In the 6,200-square-foot Chicago space, some 63 bathroom vignettes will help customers visualize a renovation of their own spaces. "I don't want anyone to be surprised when they get our products home," Shapiro says. "I want to make things easy."
Two-sided, hand-carved tub in Beijing white marble, $13,650
Marble washstand with Metropolitan base, from $6,000
Chareau light with translucent alabaster panels, from $6,500
Gothic table, made from cast aluminum and plated in polished nickel, $3,835
Other LuxeHome newcomers: At Pedini Chicago (Suite 105, 312-329-1454) find sleek, functional Italian kitchens, including the curvy Artika kitchen. The Chopping Block (Suite 107, 312-644-6360) offers cooking classes, demonstrations, and a retail space stocked with gourmet goods and kitchenware. (The Chopping Block still has its North Side location, too-at 4747 N. Lincoln Ave.) Nanz, which makes top-of-the-line custom doorknobs, hinges, and other hardware (right), is scheduled to open a showroom in April. It will share its space (Suite 103) with high-end custom lighting company Remains Lighting.