James Geier

About

Look around Chicago and you'll likely see James Geier's handiwork. The Gold Coast resident and president/founder of Back of the Yards-based 555 International Inc.either developed or designed the inside of some of the city's classiest destinations. That includes Girl & the Goat, GT Fish & Oyster and Perennial Virant. His projects this month include Scone City in Wicker Park — highlighted by "artistic neon lighting and white marble throughout" — and Hopsmith Restaurant & Bar in Gold Coast — featuring a "repurposed 1970s VW microbus, a custom-paneled DJ booth and an adult-sized Twister game floor area." Geier is nationally and internationally recognized for his work designing venues for the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, National Basketball Association, Gucci, Hard Rock Hotels, Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino. The New Jersey native grew up in Glenview and Skokie, graduating from Niles North High School and earning a fine arts bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1984. For the next four years, Geier worked at Chicago design company Niedermaier, eventually becoming its design director. He also built and ran a bar in Lakeview, Union, at that time. Although the bar has closed, it helped him get started designing restaurants and other venues. In early 1988, representatives from Liz Claiborne wanted to hire Geier directly, so he decided to start his own business. He named it 555 Design Fabrication Management Inc. after his lucky number, 5.
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