Yves Chambaz Winter 2019 Blog

by Yves Chambaz, March 26, 2019

I remember the first day of CapStone, when our instructors where introducing the very meaning of the word, with an image of an arch made from stones stacked against each other, with a stone affixed in the top, holding the whole structure together.  It seemed idealistic at the time.  But now, after 20 weeks of hard work, putting to practice all I have learned in the past two years, creating solutions for real industry challenges that were financially viable, now I understand what my instructors were trying to say.

My team was commissioned with a proposal for a hotel with food and beverage outlets and event space located in Wicker Park.  The seven of us, with such diverse backgrounds and study concentrations, came together to create the concept that was awarded as the most innovative concept of CapStone this past winter.

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Onyx was a boutique hotel with 155 smart rooms, part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.  With a strong focus on sustainability it supported local suppliers by sourcing its food locally and seasonally, it showcased art pieces from local artists around the hotel, it generated solar power via photovoltaic glass windows in the façade, and it captured storm water and reduced the heat island effect in the city thanks to its green roof.  In the lower level, Black Door, the cocktail restaurant, offered a new take on food and beverage pairing, putting the focus on the cocktail and its balances of flavor, complementing it with small bites.  In the top floor, Ezínu offered breathtaking views of the city from its two levels, with a menu inspired with the Turkish cuisine with a strong focus on vegetables, grains and ferments, and utilizing sustainably raised animal proteins.

The team’s efforts and creativity really showed in our final presentation.  It felt incredible to present to the world the fruits of our labor.  To engage with others in conversations about sustainable practices, while offering samples of food and drinks from both of our concepts.  The 2 hours of showcase flew by, and then it was gone.  All we had left was the signage and decoration.  And the experience of personal and professional growth that this project put us all through.  I learned to put together a business plan, to make it financially viable, and to present it with property to a panel of industry professionals.  I also took the role of project planner, following closely our deadlines and goals, inspiring and pressing my teammates when needed, bringing cohesiveness to the project.

The CapStone project is the biggest challenge I have had in my career at Kendall College.  Filled with long hours of research and brainstorming.  There were times of frustration and many others where amazing ideas happened.  At the end of it all, the learning, the growth, and the friendships, those are the rewards that will last forever.

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