• Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    NeoConnect

    Since 1969, NeoCon has punctuated each June with its eagerly awaited, three-day showcase of all things cutting-edge design in the commercial interiors industry. International design enthusiasts and design firms—specializing in everything from workplace textiles to ergonomic tech gadgets—converge in Chicago for three days of robust educational programming, informative and engaging keynote presentations from industry leaders, and the latest innovations and emerging talent in the industry.  Though this summer’s NeoCon has been cancelled, returning to Chicago in 2021, its organizers have filled its space with a content-rich virtual hub that will connect the design community for the entire month of June 2020, and beyond. The interactive online platform, called NeoConnect, launches…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Green design

    A modular partition and trellis made from regenerated resin; a Puerto Rico-based, non-profit organization repairing hurricane-affected communities with solar power; and an entire city district in Dubai designed by the Chicago-based firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP: these are all projects from 20 different nations unified by the new GREEN GOOD DESIGN awards.  GREEN GOOD DESIGN awards are a special edition of the nearly 70-year-old GOOD DESIGN™ awards, which was founded in Chicago by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Eero Saarinen, and Charles and Ray Eames, and organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. In…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Print Edition,  Travel

    Other such stories

    Exhibitions in art and its many related fields often serve as a catalyst for new ideas, a shift in perception, and at times, recognizable change. It is frequently used as a forum in which to engage audiences and peers, to spark conversation and innovation, and to provide opportunities for emerging and established talent. There is a statement or question often posed, challenging, inspiring, and disrupting the routine.  During the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, an international architecture and design exhibition held from September 19, 2019 through January 5, 2020 throughout downtown Chicago and its network of partners across the greater neighborhood area, that statement reflects upon social, geopolitical,…

  • Featured,  Form

    Focal Point 

    From bettering focus in the workplace and classroom to quieting libraries and helping hospital patients sleep, acoustic controls play an important part in the experience of a built environment. Architecturally, measures to distribute natural resources like light and sound are as relevant as ever, as many markets address a growing need for ergonomic and holistic design solutions focused on emotional, physical, and mental comfort.  In Chicago, lighting manufacturer Focal Point LLC has been on the forefront of these architectural accent materials for more than two decades, releasing many products that can be found in office, education, hospitality, and medical spaces alike. Recently, its acclaimed Acoustic Solutions Portfolio has been joined…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Barbershop lounge

    “There is a lot of same-old-same-old in the world and differentiating yourself to really make sure you are answering questions for your guests or customers that aren’t even asked—that you have thought through it—design is everything about that,” said James Geier, founder and president of 555 International in Chicago. “Answer the questions before they are asked and when somebody walks in they know it is a good, rich environment that has been pulled together for the right reasons, not just all these miscellaneous ideas.” 555 International is an award-winning global interior design, development, and fabrication firm specializing in the commercial, retail, and hospitality industries. For more than three decades, the…

  • Featured,  Relish

    Whole-grain catalyst

    The heat of fire, a touch of smoke, and the rise of artisan grains: there is something dynamic and alive to the process of baking bread. It is a food staple and craft that has become entwined with the human narrative throughout the centuries, from unleavened flatbread and tortillas to 60-hour-fermented sourdough baked to caramelized finish in wood-fired hearths. To Head Baker Greg Wade at Publican Quality Bread in Chicago, bread is about more than a boule, ciabatta, or baguette. It is a craft of memory, community, and opportunity; where the metaphorical rise and return to quality whole-grains can be used as a vehicle to empower the creation of a…

  • 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.…

  • Featured,  Form

    Linking the lakefront

    In 2003, the office of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley initiated an international design competition called “Bridging the Drive,” which aimed to draw major architects for a ground-breaking structural project that would improve pedestrian access to Lake Michigan across Chicago’s South Lakeshore Drive and within its South Side neighborhoods.  After nearly 16 years, the final product, brought to life by AECOM, lead design firm and civil and structural engineer, and F.H. Paschen, general contractor, among others, was unveiled in December of 2018 at 41st Street, where its bright and moderately serpentine structure crosses 750 feet of Lakeshore Drive. Last year, the new 41st Street Pedestrian Bridge was recently named…