Catherine Sarr’s Insider Guide to Chicago

Catherine Sarr’s Insider Guide to Chicago

Catherine Sarr, the founder of luxury jewelry brand ALMASIKA, talks falling head over heels for Chicago. She shares with us the best rooftop terraces, laid-back jazz scenes and where to find some sweet souvenirs in the Windy City.

Curves. Timelessness. That’s the beauty and tagline of
luxury jewelry brand that is inspired by the curves and lines of
the body. Through each and every design details of universal
symbols, art and culture can be found.

Parisian-born founder, Catherine Sarr, draws on
‘s inspiration when researching and designing new lines
and how the city has well and truly stolen her heart. Here, she
shares romantic dinner spots, boujee breakfast locations and where
she’s heading to unwind.

Art communities and Chicago essentials: in conversation with
Catherine Sarr

The best day to arrive in Chicago is…

Tuesday. That way you won’t miss Tuesdays on the Terrace at the Museum of
Contemporary Art. The weekly laid-back jazz concert is the ideal
way to immerse yourself in Chicago‘s
famous artist community.

Where should we wake up?

There’s no better place to wake up in Chicago
than The
. Whether you’re more of a breakfast poolside kind of
person or kick-start the day with a morning yoga class, there’s an
option for everyone.

Describe Chicago’s style…

Chicago oozes a care-free, easygoing vibe. Geographically the
city is nestled between New York
and LA,
yet somehow manages to steal the best qualities from both coasts.
It’s casual with an urban edge, in many ways the individual style
you’ll find feels a lot like London.

Where is your studio and what does it look like?

The studio is located in Lincoln Park, a beautiful, tree-lined
neighborhood on the northside of
. I’m lucky to be surrounded by art, books and
sculptures in my studio. Books specifically are an important part
of my creative process, there’s a lot of research that goes into
the meaning of a shape, story or a form that inspiries any piece.
The studio space allows me to have access to all of these

How does your surrounding impact or inspire your designs?

Chicago is very special! It’s a city I fell in love with at
first sight and has since been an inspiration to my creative
process. The architecture of the city is fascinating, home to the
Aqua and Vista towers designed by Jeanne Gang – the waves and
curves are truly mesmerising.

The vibrant art community and the unparalleled civic engagements
are a representation of how to build a company as part of a
community. I am grateful to be involved in the contemporary art
family, art is seen as a vector of social change. ALMASIKA celebrates
the symbols, stories and forms that unite people across cultures
and generations. I couldn’t have found a better home than

Define ALMASIKA’s aesthetic:

ALMASIKA represents sculptural shapes, curves and soft lines
that each echo the lines of the body – that’s the signature of all
our designs. We understated the silhouette that can take you into
the evening. It’s very much a representation of the Parisian style
I grew up with, I strive for people to be attracted to the lines,
subtlety and the design.

Share your favourite stores in Chicago…

Ikram and
Space 519.
I love the curated appeal of these stores. Every piece has been
personally selected by the owners, both have unique sensibilities,
the story they tell through their selections is singular to them
and this city.

What should we bring back as a souvenir?

Garrett’s is always a tasty souvenir to bring back to
just about anyone (especially popcorn lovers). It’s a crowd pleaser
and very Chicago, something you can’t find anywhere else.

Where should we head for breakfast?

Head to Lula’s
in Logan Square. Located in an institution, Lula’s Cafe
combines the best parts of the neighborhood, friendly faces and
local regulars, with the appeal of a thoughtful farm-to-table

How about lunch with friends?

The Lunchroom. Set inside the concept store, Space
519, it has an impressive vegetarian friendly menu that emphasizes
locally sourced ingredients.

And for somewhere more romantic?

Virtue in Hyde Park makes for a great date night. It
combines the comfort of southern food with an attractive wine
selection – perfect for getting the conversation flowing. After
dinner you’ll want to stroll a couple blocks east to find the Obama
Kissing Rock. It may not sound like the most romantic place but
it’s where President Barack Obama first kissed Michelle.

What if we want dinner with a view?

Without question it has to be the rooftop at Chicago Athletic
Association to Cindy’s. You’ll get the best view of Millennium Park
and some moreish cocktails to accompany your dinner.

Somewhere for an after dinner drink?

For an after work drink make a beeline for Lazy Bird. Open till
late in the basement of The Hoxton, it’s part-cocktail bar and
part-music lounge.

The best place to dance in Chicago is…

My home! There’s always music blaring in my house so I’m always

Share a secret spot only locals know about…

Most people don’t know that there’s a handful of places in
Chicago that you can shore dive. North Ave. Beach is a must-visit,
it’s the only beach in the city that you can dive from.

Where can we go in Chicago to feel inspired?

Chicago is a place where you get the best of both worlds: the
city and the beach, so whenever I need some inspiration I head to
the lake. Take a trip to one of the sand beaches along Chicago’s
shoreline and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a beach vacation for
the afternoon.

How about somewhere to relax?

I head to BIÂN to relax, it’s a sanctuary for me. The private
member’s club is centered around holistic health and social
wellbeing, a place where I can enjoy everything from sound
meditation to acupuncture. You can spend the whole day there,
starting off with a healthy breakfast, meeting up with friends for
lunch, enjoying an exercise class and finishing the night with
cocktails in the most relaxing setting.

Finally, what should we pack in our SUITCASE?

Admittedly, I’m a heavy packer because I believe you can never
have enough options. I’d suggest a silk blouse to help navigate the
city’s different styles. A silk blouse has the power to take you
seamlessly from the city’s more affluent Gold Coast to the more
casual Pilsen neighborhood. Depending on the time of the year, a
mid-season jacket is a must-pack due to the unpredictable weather.
Chicago is a great city for a ramble so I’d suggest a pair of
trainers, that way you won’t miss out on all the adventure the city
has to offer.

My essential is a playsuit from the sustainable fashion brand,
. It’s ideal for exploring and works well with an ALMASIKA necklace to take you from day to
night. Top tip: pack some Babyganics mandarin hand sanitizing wipes
made for kids but great for adults too.

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