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Stone Wall at Midtown Athletic Club
Chicago, IL

The back drop of the lobby at Midtown Athletic club is comprised of large blocks of Absolute Black Granite that made its journey from the Telangana mountains of southern India. The rough texture and drill marks that is characteristic of these panels are indicative of the process of drilling into the mountains with vertical holes to split the stone. Granite, much like wood, can be split in one direction and cut in the other. While the split, blemished face of the block is usually discarded, the team chose to use the stone for the blemishes and drill marks that signify the process of extracting something from its natural source, preserving its natural “un-processed” aesthetic.


An installation of this magnitude was an ambitious undertaking, the team faced a huge challenge in sourcing the granite from the quarries within U.S.  The team located a quarry in Southern India that was willing to engage in this unusual experiment. Carefully selected blocks were split from mountains and cut to panels that varied in thickness from 2” to 14”.  There were other challenges to overcome-erecting these massive panels within an already finished space, and engineering a support for these panels with a heavily reinforced backup wall. A 10 ft reception desk was hand carved to size that a millwork desk nested into. Collectively, fourteen distinct panels came together to form a 40-foot-long feature wall totaling 15 tons- a design vision that spanned and bridged geographical boundaries.

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