• Creative Endeavors

    Park project

    Text: Kyle Gandy The Grand Rapids Department of Parks and Recreation, located at 201 Market Ave. SW, is a perennial division of city government responsible for the myriad of parks meticulously woven into the urban metropolis of the city. Their latest project is a $250,000 reconstruction and modernization of Coit Park, which is tucked away in the northeastern region of the city neighboring the Medical Mile and the Belknap lookout.  This particular project is a part of a comprehensive revitalization strategy, which began in 2013 following a park agreement that was passed to bring $28 million to all 74 parks in the city. Coit Park’s upgrades comprise an improved playground,…

  • Creative Endeavors

    SmithGroup designs its future

    Text: R. Collins SmithGroup, a 165-year-old integrated design group formerly known as SmithGroupJJR, announced this week Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2018 it has realigned the firm’s vision to design a better future. The vehicles of the rebranding initiative comprise a simplified name, the introduction of a stylish and efficient new website, and four key goals designed to catalyze the success of its new mission.  “Today we commence the greatest journey our firm has yet undertaken. Our promise is to Design A Better Future for ourselves, for our clients, for our communities, and for the world,” said Mike Medici, president and managing partner at SmithGroup, in the press release. SmithGroup’s four key…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Legacy in design

    Text: R.Collins  As a testament to easy-going summers and northern Michigan’s distinctive natural elements, Architect Ken Richmond, AIA, composed a modern-day wood cabin perched on one of Lake Michigan’s scenic bluffs for a family positioned in Chicago full-time. The three-story home was affectionately named Good Heart Lodge after its location in the Michigan town, Good Heart, and it connects the family to its roots as the third generation to make the area a vacation residence.   “It’s an extension of the old family compound,” Richmond said. “It’s on a really spectacular site, up [on the bluff] overlooking the world.”  Richmond’s full-service architectural and planning firm—Ken Richmond, Architect—also partnered with Scott…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Re-envisioning Benzie

    Text: Kyle Gandy The Benzie County Visitors Bureau, or CVB, specializing in tourism and hospitality marketing in northwestern Michigan off the coast of Lake Michigan is revitalizing their brand with the launch of Make it Benzie. With the help from Greenlight Marketing based in Traverse City, Michigan, the organization continues to work on redesigning their name, logo, photos, videos, and other multimedia to support their mission of drawing visitors to the area and communicating the experience of Benzie County.  To convey a story, whether through a logo or billboard, there is a level of intention and thought needed for the respected medium to accurately communicate the intended message to its…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Arbor reborn

    Text: R.Collins  In the early 2000s, when the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle sparked an epidemic in southeastern Michigan, many trees native to the region had to be cut down and replaced. Then, about five years ago, Jenny Barger, co-founder and director of sales and marketing at Live Edge Detroit, received a coffee table composed of ash wood and beautifully exposed Emerald Ash Borer etchings from her brother Joe Barger.  The table sparked a business idea that would bring a new supply of natural materials to Detroit’s do-it-yourself and sustainable design scenes, and shortly thereafter, Live Edge Detroit was born. With support from their father, Mike Barger, who is a…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Designing the future

    By R.Collins  Earlier this week on June 11 through June 13, 2018, NeoCon, the annual design showcase considered by many to be one of the world’s largest and most important events in the commercial interiors industry, celebrated its 50th anniversary at Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart, or theMART. The industry’s major and emerging manufacturers displayed new products in categories such as furniture, flooring, textiles, interior finishes, interior building products, and technology at an event exhibition that has been considered a mirror and predictor of the trends and products that constitute a more than $12 billion growth spurt in the office furniture industry since its inception in 1969.    This year was no…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Print Edition

    Paint by light

    Gwen Grossman Lighting Design, or GGLD, is Chicago-based, award-winning lighting design firm drawing upon the diverse backgrounds of its team members to deliver innovative solutions for client projects.  “Our firm is very diversified with backgrounds in theatrical lighting, architecture, interior design, and fine arts, so we bring a lot to the table that has different perspectives,” said Gwen Grossmen, IALD Professional, IES, LC, principal and founder of Gwen Grossman Lighting Design.  While the creative side of lighting design plays a critical role in delivering dynamic and engaging spaces, the GGLD team also spends a significant amount of time working through the technical aspect of lighting after the conceptual phase. Fixture…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Sound and light 

    By: R. Collins  At Detroit Pitch Night on May 31, 2018, ArtPrize, an international art competition drawing more than 500,000 annual visitors to Grand Rapids, Michigan, awarded Detroit-artist Troy Ramos $5,000 for his installation piece known as Sound Space. The award will allow him to bring Sound Space to a high-profile venue during ArtPrize 10 in September, 2018.  Pitch Night is an event which takes place in four other cities across the country such as Nashville and New Orleans to discover new talent to feature during the annual ArtPrize event. Ramos was chosen out of five other artists to exhibit his project at ArtPrize after pitching his idea to a…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Design,  Local

    Q & A: On the map

    By R. Collins Entrepreneur Kelechi Uchendu’s fashion career began with a dream. Now the founder and owner of Kay Kay’s World LLC, Uchendu manages a blog concerning fashion, beauty, and travel known as Kay Kay’s Way; and a clothing line known as Kay Kay’s Fashion that would eventually lead the brand to being featured in British Vogue and Tatler Magazine, among others.  Based near Detroit, Uchendu utilizes the local talent of Detroit Sewn to craft her designs. Detroit Sewn provides Southeast Michigan with full-service, cut-and-sew manufacturing that includes sourcing, digitizing, and grading products.  Although Kay Kay’s Fashion is a Michigan-based brand, its reach is international, and Uchendu has traveled to…