The Calatrava Look

Who knew the Chicago Spire would have interiors, too? We find head-turning kitchen and bath ideas in its model apartments

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When you’re building the tallest all-residential building in the world, icon status is pretty much guaranteed. But the excitement surrounding the Chicago Spire (which we’re really almost 99 percent sure will actually get built) is so feverish, there’s speculation that even its doorknobs will become collectibles.

The building’s celebrity architect, Spanish-born Santiago Calatrava, says he drew his inspiration for the skyscraper’s design from a wisp of smoke spiraling upward and disappearing into the sky. While we wait to see if the fancifully sculptural building ever materializes on its Lake Shore Drive site, we have enjoyed looking at the model apartments (a kitchen and three bathrooms are pictured here) on display in the nearby NBC building. They provide generous jolts of Calatrava-style inspiration suitable for co-opting in our own, non-iconic, homes.

The Spire’s twisting, tapering nature means each of its 1,194 apartments requires its own unique floor plan; the detail-obsessed Calatrava intends to have a hand in designing every one. Or, as the developer’s representative Kim Metcalfe prefers to put it, “Each apartment will be an individual piece of Santiago’s art.” If you don’t think you can swing the $40 million or so it will take to lock up the duplex penthouse (where the curvature of the earth will be plainly visible from your bedroom windows), here are some ideas for giving your current digs a shot of futuristic Calatrava flair.

Next: The foyer and kitchen.