• Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Six-string attitude

    The stage is set: a hush settles over the crowd, smoke curls languidly on the floor, and lights draw eyes and ears to the platform. There is an avid anticipation—a collective intake of breath—as the crowd watches both guitarist and the iconic silhouette held before in an extension and expression of its player. It is an instrument that has defined and redefined sound and music, launching movements and inspiring generations—and when deft fingers strum its first strings, sending vibration and resonance from body and pickups to amplifier, it can strike a similar chord in its listeners when style and function are in harmony.  The electric guitar is an instrument that…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Oji Masanori x Mjölk

    Solid brass and soft light are the main ingredients in this delicate light fixture created by the Japanese industrial designer Oji Masanori. The Diamond Pendant lamp was conceived for the Toronto-based lifestyle shop and gallery, Mjölk, as part of an exclusive collection, and it was handcrafted by artisans in the city. Fundamentally, the pendant recalls Masanori’s careful attention to form, proportion, and even utility in housewares design. A solid brass pulley and counterweight matching the light’s conic cover plate allows the nine-foot cord to be moved and adjusted vertically, and the fogged casing emits a diffused, calming glow. Masanori, who is CEO of the studio Oji & Design, is largely…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Travel

    Design dialogue

    Last year, the IIDA and AIA Chicago unveiled its inaugural discussion series Designers and Architects Talk: A Series About Design and Its Impact on Client Success. The four-part program addresses the commercial interior architecture and design sectors, and after a successful first installment, the series has returned to the IIDA Headquarters in Chicago for 2020, with a variety of new voices from the design community, primarily in Chicago. “IIDA and AIA Chicago initiated this series to bring architects and commercial interior designers together to learn from interesting conversations and to also connect with each other,” said John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA.…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Travel

    Center for design

    In the realm of design, the advantage of an extensive, active showroom center is manifold when either undergoing a new project or exploring current trends from design tastemakers. The Midwest has its fair share, from Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, or theMART, the 4.2 million square-foot center in Chicago’s River North submarket; to the Designers Walk collection at the intersection of Toronto’s Annex and Yorkville neighborhoods.  Centrally located in metro-Detroit, the Michigan Design Center is one of these influential pools of collective design where nearly 40 curated showrooms representing more than 1,000 manufacturers—the likes of Ann Sacks, Schumacher, and Baker Furniture among them—offer year-round access to the best and brightest in design…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Project Atigi

    Nearly one year ago, Canada Goose Inc., a luxury performance wear brand in Toronto, Ontario, launched its social entrepreneurship program known as Project Atigi in partnership with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, or ITK. The representational organization is the national voice for the four Inuit regions of Inuit Nunangat, representing Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavut, and Nunavik in northern Canada.   The first of its kind in Canada, Project Atigi featured an exclusive, globally-released parka collection handcrafted by 14 Inuit seamstresses, and was designed to celebrate Inuit craft while returning the profits back to the community.  Leveraging the success and impact of the initial collection, this month Canada Goose released its expanded collection…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Abbreviated design

    In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the full-service architectural, interior, and product design firm Via Design Inc., whose work appears throughout the city’s commercial and residential sectors—and their many sub-categories—has added a new brand to its identity.  Since its establishment in 1989, the firm, which is headquartered downtown, has continually added services to its repertoire, including sustainable design, furniture procurement and design, and an expansive in-house architecture and interior design library featuring samples and resources compiled from around the world. Recently Via Design’s service offerings have been joined by Abbreviated Design, an online home décor shop curated by the firm’s own professional designers.  “[The brand] still has the same themes as Via,…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Travel

    Modern retrospective

    In December 2019, the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan unveiled three textile and craft-centric exhibitions that will run until March 2020 exploring how innovative people and teaching methods influenced design for generations. One of the exhibitions showcases the lifework of one of Detroit’s formative figures in interior and textile design. The exhibit, titled “Ruth Adler Schnee: Modern Designs for Living,” posits designer Ruth Adler Schnee’s prolific, influential, seven-decade career and pivotal—if underrepresented—role in design history in a bright and full account. “I think a lot of times her textiles are looked at in isolation and maybe that is what gets lost, is that she is most famous for her textile designs; and rightly…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    The Architects: Brian Barkwell, AIA

    In the past, architecture has been defined as a vocation, a field of both technical and creative study, and a conduit in which an individual can impact lives and leave a legacy. Yet, its potential to influence, create, inspire, disrupt, and include speaks to a larger import than a simple, concrete interpretation. Its significance is elusive, fluid, and subjective; as varied as the talented minds and hands practicing the craft in the region, building upon the existing built fabric and landscape.  In this continued series, Great Lakes By Design Magazine had an opportunity to learn more about some of the architects practicing in the Great Lakes region—and what drives them…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    TRETOW crafted

    In Milwaukee, TRETOW LLC is adding its own signature to design and fabrication in the area with its contemporary aesthetic and flexibly pragmatic design solutions.  Apart from an early appreciation for art and design, Ryan Tretow, designer and owner, credits a value for craft and a family familiarity of trade work for his path into both design and fabrication. His practice, which became a full-time endeavor in 2016, brings both services in-house to closely refine projects from start to finish, as well as offer a diverse range of turn-key design solutions to the Milwaukee market.  “I was always drawn to taking a project all the way from an idea to…