Jeni's Connors Park

Chicago, IL


The Ask

What do you do with a small, prefabricated metal and glass building located on park grounds? If you’re Chipman Design and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, you turn that building into an inviting and comfortable ice cream parlor!

The Task

Connors Park is a small, triangular-shaped park in Chicago, Illinois - an oasis of greenery situated amongst high-rise buildings. In the park is a small metal and glass prefabricated building. When Jeni’s Ice Cream decided to renovate the building to create their newest retail space, it proved to be a great project for CDA to flex our design muscles. CDA and Jeni’s have had a very fruitful ongoing relationship; the Connors Park project is the 7th together.

The building, which measures only 1,267 sq ft, would need to accommodate all essential back-of-house and food preparation equipment, along with a dining area. The dining area was also a unique challenge; since the building only had one existing bathroom the occupancy rate of the dining room could not exceed 15 customers. Beyond the structure itself, CDA worked closely with the Alderman of the 42nd Ward of Chicago and the Chicago Park District in regard to construction, since the building is located on park property.

In order to keep costs down and still create a warm, inviting feel, CDA designers utilized reused structures where possible - such as existing support footings for new trellises and adding a new light-filtering shade fabric to a motorized system that was already installed. Soft neutral colors were joined with rift-sawn red oak wood finishes, both of which seamlessly complimented the aesthetic of the greenhouse-style building. White tiles were carried from the prep area to the dining room to unify the space. The end result is a design that fits seamlessly within the park environment and gives Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams a beautiful and unique new retail location.

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