• Featured,  Form

    The wood workers

    There’s a certain sense of comfort created in a home natural wood finishes and accents can invoke. As an architectural material, the rich color and materiality of natural wood causes an instant change in structural style, aesthetic, and feeling when it is applied to the exterior or interior of a home. More so, its malleable qualities allow it to take nearly any shape.  In the small town of Comins, Michigan, in the heart of a more-than-century-old timber industry, the team of craftspeople at The Woodworkers Shoppe Inc. specialize in creating collections of architectural and household wood products from locally grown and harvested species like White Northern Cedar—a naturally termite and…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Form

    The suburban contemporary

    Located off of a main road in downtown Petoskey, Michigan, a spacious contemporary residence by Edgewater Design Group LLC invites double-takes and generous glimpses into its artfully remixed interior. Populated by bespoke design elements and a diverse docket of programmatic needs, the home was created on the combined sites of two former residences—one of which was recycled—and speaks its mind in the setting without being pretentious, according to Stephanie Baldwin, president, owner, and designer at Edgewater Design Group in Petoskey. “This client definitely wanted something that had a ‘wow’ factor to it, but wasn’t obnoxious and in-your-face,” Baldwin said. “We kept with a lot of the traditional rooflines as far…

  • 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

    Design, in virtual

    As adjustments have been made left and right to carry on everyday routines, resourcefulness and creativity in communities and industry are as relevant as ever. Even in the design sphere, creative leaders are finding ways to deliver great design; and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, founder and principal at Visbeen Architects LLC is at the head of the curve with a newly launched interactive video service delivering the same results as his in-person consultations: fully developed, custom home illustrations that are ready to implement.  “I’m drawing right on my pad, my overhead camera is on my paper, and [clients are] watching it and interacting with me as…

  • 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…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Natural advantage 

    Since initial records of design in ancient times, there has been evidence of what it is now classified as biomimicry. From the early utilization of silkworms for textile production around 4,000 B.C. and Leonardo da Vinci’s skeletal flying machines in the 1400s to archaic umbrellas inspired by Chinese lotus leaves in the 18th century, designers and inventors continue to turn to the concept—and full-fledged practice—to spark innovative solutions for complex issues that impact the world at large.  One of the most notable modern innovations, which also poses a solution for sustainable energy, was sparked decades ago when Dr. Frank Fish, a marine biologist, stumbled upon a peculiar anatomical characteristic on…

  • 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…