art + design

Who Doesn’t Love a Button Machine?

Check out the hotel's very own button-dispensing machine!


SUMMER 2018 – Lots of places offer a souvenir takeaway, but how many hotels have their own button machine? Inspired by an idea of one of our staff, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel introduced a button vending machine. The whimsical device features an array of colorful custom-designed buttons putting the spotlight on hotel history, icons and outlets, Chicago landmarks and a rendition of our own logo, which was designed by renowned Chicago street artist Dont Fret.

The machine currently features five buttons, each costing $1 (payable with quarters only — kind of like vintage machines used long before we all started paying for things with credit cards or digital dollars). More will come online in the near future and we’re excited for our guests and visitors to the hotel to take home a little memento from the button machine, which they can find on our first floor behind the In The Know desk.

So what will you find?

  • Chicago Athletic Association logo — This limited-edition button came about through a partnership with semi-anonymous street muralist Dont Fret. It showcases his work, which will also be found on mugs in our in-room dining experience.
  • Cherry Circle Room icon — the button is based off the Aggression and Tranquility flag that hangs in our James Beard Award-winning second floor restaurant. The symbol’s meaning? That patience is a virtue, but so is assertiveness. It’s important to strike a balance between offering opinions and knowing when to pick your battles.
  • Cherry Circle Room symbol — Different from the icon, this symbol appears like a cherry, but at closer look can also seem like an eye, meant to bring about the idea of secret societies.
  • Cloud Gate “The Bean” illustration — Indian-born artist Anish Kapoor’s Millennium Park sculpture has become a modern icon of Chicago.
  • Cindy’s Honey Pot — So much of what the kitchen and bar team work with is found from local vendors, farms and purveyors. The honey pot symbolizes our need to support all things local, and echoes the faux-honey pots lining the bar upstairs.

Also hidden inside: a chance to win a stay with us! To celebrate our 125th anniversary, we’re giving away a complimentary stay and our 125 Ways to Play room package – including $125 in gift cards to all seven of our onsite restaurants/bars and our online store, plus a tote bag full of Chicago Athletic Association keepsakes. Draw the golden pin and win – good luck! ✨

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