• Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Crafted collection

    Room & Board, the iconic Minneapolis-based furnishings designer, throughout the years has pulled inspiration from revived design movements like Arts and Crafts, and Shaker styles as it creates furniture with tried-and-true design principles reinterpreted for modern living, as well as commercial markets.  Its residential offerings range from mattresses and ottomans to wall clocks and chandeliers, and they also contain conscientious initiatives like The Urban Wood Project—a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, that sources urban harvested, reclaimed wood—and a general preference for working with small artisanal and business outfits to bring designs to life. The firm also has a branch dedicated to commercial interior furnishings, called…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Grenadier Pond contemporary

    Set near the wetland shores of Grenadier Pond on the western edge of Toronto’s High Park, this low-profile, contemporary home in the Swansea neighborhood is unassuming upon approach with limited street frontage. Yet, as the onlooker is drawn down the drive, there is a sense of procession and shelter to the three-story, 3,500-square-foot home nestled into the forested hill and ravines inherent to the protected park. Its envelope and clean lines are modest interventions on the site, allowing for interaction and relationship with the unique biodiversity of Grenadier Pond.  There is a thoughtful connection between built and natural landscape—a concept that is central to the founding philosophy of the architectural…

  • Featured,  Form

    The waterfront chateau

    There is a quiet palatial air to this lakefront home perched on the sloping topography of its Green Lake site. Upon approach, elegantly curved lines are visibly juxtaposed with clean-lined peaks in the roof; rich, blue, cedar shakes are contrasted with lighter stonework and white trim; and a surprising element of warm millwork welcomes those to the front entry. From the lake, a turret rises three-stories tall, complete with a winding exterior staircase guiding footsteps from the upper deck to the grotto below.  On the interior, a staircase with floating treads allow an immediate visual of Green Lake beyond, exposed beams stretch across ceilings, heated tile wrap the floors, and…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Print Edition

    The Kohlstedt Keep

    The drama of Lake Superior rivals that of any oceanic system on Earth. Its surface area makes it the largest freshwater lake in the world, in the heart of the Midwest, and its remarkably clean, cold waters are punctuated by sharp rip currents and waves that can top 30 feet. In some places, extrusions of ancient mafic rock reveal the underbelly of the basin, which has been carved by eruptions of molten basalt approximately one billion years ago and the gentle kneading of glacial forms thereafter.  Land side, the lake’s westward buffer, Minnesota, is covered nearly 33 percent by rich packs of coniferous and deciduous forest that also make it…

  • Featured,  Form

    Design-and-build narrative for a waterfront respite

    Bridges play an important role as a tangible structure built to span obstacles and distances. As an architectural artifact, the bridge is an innovative and engineering feat reaching heights of cantilevered steel that has supported transcontinental transportation and industry, as well as humble origins as wooden planks worn by foot traffic between river banks. The bridge is also considered a symbol, an intangible concept representative of a transition or phase between two conditions or elements.  For this particular waterfront cottage, inspired by the classic vernacular inherent to northern Michigan, a bridge—both literal and figurative—served foundational to its design and build narrative. What began as a partial demolition and remodel, quickly…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Upcycle and silk

    With millions of tons of textiles being produced around the world each year—and a similar amount ending up in landfills, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency—fashion labels and industry entrants have become increasingly creative with what would be considered their “waste” fabric, though countless practices would need to be reversed to create a sustainable industry. For one Toronto-based fashion brand, a comprehensive investment in the sustainable fashion movement manifests in garments crafted from one sustainable, often overlooked material: traditional South Asian saris.  When Priya Mohan founded the brand sariKNOTsari, it was in the wake of a rich period working in the Canadian antiques market and sourcing items for…

  • Featured,  Travel

    Sculpted experience

    Museums tucked within nature, sculpture gardens offer unique experiences for those with a love of the outdoors and for the discerning art and design enthusiast that are increasingly appealing in a currently deepening digital reality. The Midwest is home to a variety of sculpture gardens of varying sizes, whether independently owned and operated, or a result of rich, decades-long collaboration between organizations invested in regional arts, design, and environmental wellbeing and education.  Great Lakes By Design takes a moment to marvel at sculpture gardens throughout the Great Lakes region, where visitors can find everything from curated explorations of tropical flora, a carnivorous plant house, and brass-cast depictions of America’s first…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Connection point

    Discovery, expression, and connection: they are concepts that define the role resource centers can play at both the local community and international level. Resources, regardless of type—natural, physical, human, or speculative—by definition are assets to be drawn upon for functional needs, and the spaces built around them, in support or in preservation, offer a place of collaboration, education, and experience.  From the literary temples of poetic, philosophic, and historical work—and the modern library that has evolved from it to meet ever-evolving needs of communities—and the more intangible boundaries that house the ecological conservation of parks and oceans, to the places that house the creative work of industry, resource centers, like…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Artful tile

    Since its founding in 1992, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based firm Motawi Tileworks has been redefining the role of tile installations in residential and commercial spaces with its artful, handcrafted tile designs. Depictions of a snowscape at dawn, Amaryllis in bloom, and indigo tulip buds are only some of the designs offered through its extensive art tile collection, which is also highly influenced by Mid-Century artistic figures like Frank Lloyd Wright and the illustrator and conservationist Charley Harper. It is also an installation tile collection that includes intricate relief tiles, moldings, and liners.  Late June 2020, Motawi Tileworks released two new vibrant art tiles inspired by Charley Harper and the studio’s existing,…