OUR HISTORY (new)
CHICAGO BORN AND BRED
Located in the historic Beverly neighborhood on Chicago's south side.
Optimo's headquarters consolidates its design, operations and production spaces inside a renovated 100+ year old decommissioned firehouse.
To create a space reflective of our rigorous ethos of craftmanship, authenticity and timeless luxury, we engaged SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill) - the iconic Chicago-based architectural firm. (make this a link)***
Designed to support an efficient workflow, the new Optimo headquarters allows for maximum focus on detail and craftsmanship in hatmaking.
The workshop on the first floor uses a palette of refined and understated materials, mainly blackened steel, walnut and cork, expressing a contemporary yet classic industrial aesthetic.
Elegant steel casings frame task and ambient lighting above the various workstations; custom floor to ceiling shelving houses hundreds of crown and brim molds, essential to proper hatmaking.
Custom rolling racks allow hats to be organized and mobilized for seamless movement between stations. Walls of restored glazed brick wrap the daylight-filled, double-height space allowing ideal lighting for inspection during each process.
The new workshop is a "working museum" of the rarest and finest machinery from the golden age of hatmaking. All essential tools for the artisians at Optimo to produce the worlds finest hats.
On the second floor, an expansive studio space serves as a design atelier for hosting clients and guests. An immense walnut table recalls the design of the Optimo factory workbenches on the first floor. Above, a handcrafted circular light fixture measuring 10 feet in diameter further anchors the room. Full-height steel shelves frame founder Graham Thompson's collection of historical hats and the original tools and molds he used learning the craft.
Where fire poles once emerged from the floor, porthole windows are now placed, offering views of the workshop below.
Our workshop is closed to the public but we offer monthly tours of our workshop, and an opportunity to pick up your custom hat at the same time.
Please contact us to schedule a tour.