• 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,…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Thread in transit

    The multi-modal transit system is intended to support the urban core—not unlike a buttress to a wall—and the dynamic economic, cultural, and social activities that take place there. It interacts with the complex spatial structure of larger cities, ultimately becoming inherently entwined with the day-to-day operations and life in the diverse tapestry of its built landscape.  In Chicago, the transit-intensive city has become not only multi-modal in nature, but also inter-modal as many of its residents, visitors, and working populations leverage more than one mode of transportation for a single journey—bicycle, pedestrian, bus, train, automotive, and waterway, to name a few. Perhaps its most iconic infrastructure though is known simply…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Mask makers

    In this unprecedented time, major players and smaller participants in a variety of Midwest industries have set their attention on an invaluable product: the face masks with which many are protecting themselves against COVID-19. Brands, from General Motors to the Milwaukee Bucks, have launched mask-making initiatives to supply the consumer market that continues to grow in need, nearly as quickly as it is satiated.  Alongside national corporations, volunteer efforts among local sewing enthusiasts and crafters have also amassed into a sweeping grassroots effort to provide friends, families, communities, and those on the frontlines of the pandemic with the personal protective equipment they need. Many of these efforts also come with…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Dream makers

    Since 2009, the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based interior design firm of Deidre Interiors has crafted distinctive spaces for the high-end residential market, and has become largely known for a rich mixing of the bespoke, sophisticated, and comfortable. The firm, founded by Principal and Interior Designer Deidre Remtema, ASID—a long-time city resident—works on everything from downtown condos and lakeshore properties to multi-generational homesteads—largely spaces of renewal that sculpt everyday life.  With business accelerating the past few years, Deidre Remtema sought to add architectural services to her growing team to move her firm into fully inclusive, turnkey territory. Luckily, her husband, Jeff Remtema, AIA, proved to be a perfect fit for the job. …

  • 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…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Movement evolution

    Following the landmark merger of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul in 2012, and creation of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the Minnesota-based, nonprofit organization looked to move its headquarters to a new location. The site, positioned in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, would not only serve to accommodate its larger staff, membership, and programmatic needs, but also reflect its founding mission, enduring identity, and intentional thought of tomorrow.  “We sought to relocate our downtown Minneapolis facility, along with our corporate office, as the next step in our legacy and to gain greater exposure by making sure the Y, [or YMCA], is…

  • 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,  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…

  • Featured

    Playful planar

    The Rapson Thirty-Nine Collection is a masterful composition of lyrical, clean lines and a planar form incorporating both comfort and functionality. The furniture line not only leaves an impressionable mark as an authentic reflection of mid-century modernism, but also manages to capture the spirit of internationally-renowned architect and designer Ralph Rapson’s original concepts.  The dynamic and artful furniture pieces, which were made possible through collaboration between Leland International and the Rapson family, are part of the Grand Rapids-based firm’s Guild collection and feature a lounge chair, guest chair, benches, and stools inspired by original drawings completed by Rapson in the late 1930s. Leland International is known for creating high-quality, design-focused…