Our Approach.

 Our work ranges from the physical, to the digital, to the emotional— yet the objective remains constant; to create memorable and meaningful experiences with the power to transform. Simply stated, we aim to work on projects that are as much felt as they are seen, always with the goal of creating personal connections. When people feel connected, when they care, they act with empathy, with kindness, with enthusiasm, and businesses thrive.

We have built a set of case studies that represent a group of self-starters, first adopters and general ball-busters whose crafts may vary but have perpetuated our guiding sentiment of “service by design” in every facet of their business.

 

1. The Wheelhouse Hotel

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THE WHEELHOUSE

Chicago, IL, USA


CLIENT

Bedderman Lodging

Renovation Completion Date - Sept. 2018

SCOPE - Interior Design, Brand Identity

AWARDS

HD Award 2019

Best midscale guestroom/suites

Gold Key Award / Finalist 2019

Best midscale hotel

Best midscale guestrooms/suites

Best midscale lobby


CHALLENGE

Wrigleyville is a multi-faceted, layered neighborhood full of lifelong Cubs fans, new college graduates, and young families building roots in Chicago. The 21-room Wheelhouse Hotel was an opportunity to condense the vibrancy of the entire community into one centralized place. One where locals could hang out and feel like home and visitors could really get a feel for the true pulse of the city - its neighborhoods.

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 The design of The Wheelhouse Hotel is a reflection of the evolving neighborhood.

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 STRATEGY

Create a space including a candy bar, a local restaurant, a downstairs speakeasy, and a cozy rooftop to take in the views of the Windy City that feels at once new, but like it’s always been there. Design for the property’s neighbors as much as for its guests. Represent this special corner of Chicago in both an authentic and new way.

TACTICS

In order to serve diverse audiences with overlapping interests, we ensured that the space seamlessly fit into its immediate surroundings, while offering a playful beacon of respite in a neighborhood known for revelry. Original brick and stone building elements are highlighted while layered against unexpected objects and bright, painted paneling. Old school, traditional features are referenced throughout but always with a twist such as found objects and whimsical, floating art installations.

RESULTS

The design of The Wheelhouse Hotel is a reflection of the evolving neighborhood. It is rooted in history, with an eye towards the future and an ever present atmosphere of playful celebration. It feels familiar, yet unexplored; casual, yet sophisticated.

 2. Atelier Playa Mujeres

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ATELIER PLAYA MUJERES

Cancún, Mexico

CLIENT

Atelier de Hoteles

Anticipated Completion Date - Oct 21, 2016

SCOPE

Interior Design - 600 keys, 15 restaurants, spa, and convention center

CHALLENGE

With over 50,000 guestrooms, and counting, Cancun is Mexico’s best known and most visited tourist destination. Our clients tasked us to conceptualize and design an ultra luxury, 600-key all-inclusive resort unlike anything the Yucatan has seen.

STRATEGY

While Cancun’s spring-break focused atmosphere has served up countless margaritas and shots of tequila, we realized it has yet to deliver a truly elevated Mexican coastal experience. Our goal was to redefine the concept of barefoot luxury and create an immersive, distinctly Mexican destination.

 

 

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TACTICS

If you’ve spent any time in Mexico, you know a few things to be true. 1. Warm and genuine hospitality is at the heart of its culture, from the corner taco vendor to the concierge at the newest 5-star resort, the feeling of family and community is vital and contagious. 2. Art is absolutely everywhere. In music, in painting, in sculpture, in dance; art even spans the streets overhead in strings of colorful and iconic ‘papel picados’ - paper cut-outs. And, 3. Local is expected, and there is great pride in doing everything by hand - from twelve-course meals, to building techniques, Mexican culture is founded on the artistry of making. From this foundation, we’ve crafted, with love, a hyper local, luxury hospitality experience that celebrates these ideals. It starts with loving and respecting the land - preserving as much of the natural vegetation as possible. Pathways and pools meander through this landscape, allowing guests to appreciate and discover the lush beauty of the Yucatan.

Art and culture are at the forefront of this concept. Therefore, we have designed spaces where the stories behind the materials have a direct connection back to the hands of the artists and artisans who created them. In our version of luxury, a memorable experience is not based on the cost of the materials found within the resort, it is derived from the values and vision of the atmosphere, lovingly hand-crafted by the local community.

RESULTS

A model room that made our client cry. A spontaneous mantra that popped up all over the construction site, from the hands of those building the hotel: ‘Haz todo con amor’ - do everything with love. The project is still under construction, but the results have already surprised us. Even incomplete, it is speaking and touching those who are connected to it. With each site visit, workers make sure to stop us and say how proud they are to be a part of this project; how in the countless hotels they’ve built, they’ve never worked on something like this.

Memory and emotion are central to a true human experience. The process of designing and building this resort has already been a deeply emotive experience. We hope that guests are able to feel that love, that pride which the community has put into this project when the doors open soon.

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 3. Hotel Indigo El Paso

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HOTEL INDIGO EL PASO

El Paso, Texas, USA

CLIENT

Summit 11 Investment Group

Renovation Completion Date - Jan 21, 2016

SCOPE - Interior Design, Full gut renovation of 121 Key Hotel

AWARDS

HD Award - Best midscale guestroom/suites, 2016

Gold Key Award - Best mid-scale hotel, 2016

CHALLENGE

Bearing the badge of a ‘boutique hotel’ is a lot of pressure for a property. Savvy and well-traveled guests expect to experience the unexpected. They want to explore, to contemplate, to be surprised and be delighted. They want to leave knowing more than when they first arrived. Now, imagine being the only “boutique hotel” smack dab in the middle of a border city of nearly a million people which is undergoing a major downtown revitalization. The expectations and stakes are that much higher. These are the circumstances of the transformed Hotel Indigo El Paso.

 

 “The last real place in America.”

- Cormack McCarthy

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 STRATEGY

Curioso approached the story of this hotel as a tale of two countries; adjacent sister cities, one unique culture, a rich history within a desert landscape, and a whole lot of goods and characters constantly moving through the area.

TACTICS

Telling this complex and intricately woven story through design required bold gestures, the layering of materials and the active participation of the local artist community. The hotel’s design and experience fully respects the clean lines of the original building’s 1960s architecture and injects a blend of industrial materials, mid- century modern furnishings, mindful amenities and an eclectic, curated art package. Landscaping with native desert plants happens throughout the property and creates a vibrant oasis on the 5th floor pool deck.

RESULTS

Cormac McCarthy once called El Paso “The last real place in America.” The ownership and the design team succeeded in reflecting just that. A real and authentic hotel experience to represent a truly unique destination.

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 4. Seven Point

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SEVEN POINT

Oak Park, Illinois, USA

CLIENT

Seven Point

Renovation Completion Date - August 2016

SCOPE - Interior Design, Brand Identity

AWARDS

Latin Design Awards - Bronze

CHALLENGE

Legalized medical cannabis is a new industry riddled with many challenges including: strict and inconsistent regulations, poor service, underwhelming and unwelcoming spaces, as well as a PR problem of overcoming the negative stigma of long-haired basement stoners donning tie dye and rastafarian flags. Curioso was charged with designing a high-end medical cannabis dispensary experience and brand within an affluent community in Illinois, a state with the strictest regulations in the country.

Our interest in working with the cannabis, or really any industry stems from our strong belief that hospitality extends beyond hotels, restaurants, and bars. It really applies anywhere where humans reside.

 

 Start with people.

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 STRATEGY

We started by ignoring the precedent set by the illegal cannabis industry and designed and conceptualized the entire experience from scratch.

We set out to position Seven Point as a sophisticated and welcoming brand by looking at the project from a position of empathy and service and approached every decision through a hospitality lens.

TACTICS

Start with people. By creating design focused on our shared human experience, whether a guest, a team member, or our owners. We set out to create a space that promotes natural human connection.

We did this by redefining the dispensary experience. For example, regulations state that a patient’s first interaction with a person is a security guard behind bullet proof glass. By simply changing the security guard into a Cannabis Concierge, and seating them behind a low and welcoming desk, under a wide pane of glass, we were able to increase transparency and break down the barriers imposed by the state.

We also encouraged our client to bring back-of-house operations to the front-of-house. Rather than having a large back office, we reallocated the space to a large communal table within the dispensary where the team could work alongside patients perusing the dispensary’s extensive menu. This led to increased productivity for the team, but better yet, a natural setting for the patient to get the help they may need.

RESULTS

The result has surprised even our team. Curioso knew that focusing on hospitality and service would be a winning strategy for our client, but the design of the space has led to results we couldn’t have imagined. Three months after opening, 80% of our client’s team is made up of patients who enjoyed spending time in the space and made such strong connections that they were offered employment.

The brand’s patient growth has far exceeded our client’s expectations and put the business in the black within 12 months. Today, Seven Point has the highest formal valuation of any single dispensary within Illinois.

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