When I learned of Christophe’s travels to Egypt for our July publication, I couldn’t help but get excited, as I have a vast appreciation for Egyptian Revival art and architecture. Egyptian Revival became widely popular in the American arts throughout the nineteenth century and into the 1920s. The significant motifs of Egyptian art could be seen in various artistic media, especially in architecture and furniture design. As someone who studied this movement extensively in college, I couldn’t wait to see the tombs and monuments Christophe visited. After reading about and viewing the photos of Christophe’s visit to Tutankhamun’s tomb, I was immediately reminded of the resurgence of Egyptianology in America that occurred in 1922, just after the discovery of his tomb. During this period, America saw a huge increase in theaters across the country using traditional Egyptian designs to adorn their facades.
I couldn’t help but connect this movement and the Reebie Storage Warehouse located here in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. As a former resident of Lincoln Park, I used to pass by the Reebie Storage Warehouse and marvel at its Egyptian Revival architecture daily. I decided to do a bit of background research on the architecture and design a mood board inspired by this local Chicago landmark. It turns out the Reebie Storage Warehouse is one of America’s finest historically accurate examples of Academic Egyptian Revival architecture still standing. The building was completed in 1922, just months before the opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb, making it ahead of its time.
The design is unmistakably Egyptian, and Fritz Albert’s, the architect, attention to detail proves he did his research. You immediately notice the two large statues of Ramses II flanking the main entrance, representing the brother duo and owners John and William Reebie. Beneath each statue is John and William’s names written in the hieroglyphic equivalent of their photonic spellings. It is said that ornamental drawings and hieroglyphics for the warehouse were reviewed by both the Field Museum and Art Institute for accuracy. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and it was established as a designated Chicago Landmark in 1999. Reebie Storage Warehouse still operates out of their 2325 North Clark Street building today and continues to use the Sphinx in their logo.
Using the Reebie Warehouse’s Egyptian Revival design as inspiration for this mood board, we focus on the rich royal blues, gold details, and bold beige terracotta bricks. It’s inspiring to see ancient Egyptian architecture still inspiring design today.
For our material palette, we start with using a recolored version of Opus as the main background. On top of that, we add classic kelp, a bright blue metal sheet to match the blue detailing of the exterior. Two yellow fabrics named ossetra and remix are also added to complement the yellow of the carpet background. To give it more of that Egyptian touch, we add tile blocks, roman white, paired with metal ceiling panels called times square. Finally, we add herringbone pattern, main line flax stripe, as well as leaf to balance everything out.
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Opus RECOLORED by ege carpets
Classic Kelp by Moz Designs Inc.
Remix by Brentano
Ossetra by Designtex
Times Square by Decorative Ceiling Tiles
Roman White by Rookwood
Main Line Flax Stripe by Camira
Herringbone Pattern by Woodwol
Leaf by Country Floors