How to Go Antique Shopping at Architectural Artifacts, Inc.

A New Home in the River North Design District

Following its 35-year legacy as one of the nation’s top destinations for globally sourced design and architectural antiques, Architectural Artifacts, Inc. (AAI) has reimagined a 35,000-square-foot Mid Century school in River North to introduce its latest concept. Brainchild of legendary antiques dealer and Founder Stuart Grannen in partnership with Robert and Debra Baum of Bedderman Lodging Co., AAI will infuse hospitality with world-class design. The concept will invite guests to experience chef-driven food and beverage offerings, as well as multi-use private and large-scale event spaces in addition to its signature art, antiques, and one-of-a-kind furnishings. Event spaces include the vintage gymnasium and eight furnished classrooms with details like original tiling and lighting, slate chalkboards, cork boards, wood cabinetry, and more.

People who visit generally know what they’re on the hunt for, but there may be others who are initially attracted by AAI’s other offerings, like food and beverage, events, or the pickleball courts. The goal of the revamped AAI is to show the larger population that there’s something here for everyone.

Visit their new space at 1065 N. Orleans St. in the River North Design District.

How to Shop for Antiques

Shopping for antiques is a unique shopping experience. At AAI, you’ll find unique, specially curated pieces from all over the world — including Chicago.

“We’ve created a place that’s unlike anything else in the world. After decades spent traveling the globe searching for interesting and evocative artifacts, I’ve built a collection that’s unmatched — no kidding, it’s jaw-dropping. I can’t wait to share these pieces in our new place, which celebrates the joy of the hunt but also brings people together. We’ve built a hub where people from all walks of life can eat, drink, host, shop and play under one roof.”

AAI Founder, Stuart Grannen

There are a couple ways to approach shopping for antiques at AAI:

  • Shopping for something utilitarian and essential 
  • Shopping for something fun and eye-catching

Here’s just a few of AAI’s offerings that could appeal to someone just starting out with antiques and/or interested in buying something unique for their home or business during a visit:

  • A 200-year-old hand-blown, oversized wine bottle from France
  • Crystals from a massive Italian chandelier
  • Jumbo decorative letters from old antique signs, eg. the letter “B”
  • Paper mache masks from a historic opera house in Munich, Germany
  • A large dining table from a farmhouse in Italy
  • Historic light fixtures from a Chicago movie palace

Antiques You Can Find at Architectural Artifacts, Inc.

We asked AAI founder Stuart Grannen to share with us a few of the top pieces at AAI that he is most excited about. Here’s his lineup:

  • Mid-century, Italian designer seating
  • Commercial sized cabinets and multi drawer units from France and Italy
  • Marble-top counters with lots of storage space from a pasta factory in Milan
  • Historic items from famous Chicago architects and buildings (eg. Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan)
  • Series of bronze coffee dispensers from Munich, Germany
  • European religious statuary that are between 300-500 years old
  • Contemporary and mid-century sculpture

About Architectural Artifacts, Inc.

Architectural Artifacts, Inc. was founded and incorporated in 1987 by archaeologist and rabid collector Stuart Grannen. In 2022, Stuart embarked on a new adventure with Robby & Debra Baum of Bedderman Lodging Co., pairing their design & hospitality expertise and shared love of global finds to launch Architectural Artifacts 2.0. AAI is a mixed-use F&B concept, event space as well as design and antique showroom featuring globally vetted antiques and furnishings that will open its doors in summer, 2022.

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