• 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,  Residential

    Design for Sale: Sommerset Pointe

    On Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Michigan, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa within the Sommerset Pointe Yacht Club and Marina’s lakeside residential collection offers a harmonious combination of lakefront living and active lifestyle. The property, a warm-weather refuge, will arrive on the market soon courtesy of Pat O’Brien and Associates Real Estate, a real estate brokerage firm specializing in northern Michigan’s luxury, residential, lakefront, and commercial properties. This Sommerset villa is designed for easy, everyday living and adaptable for entertaining lakeside. Soft hardwood floors cover the interior, which includes a spacious master suite and a semi-open kitchen with a generous island for gathering. An open living space toward the lake hosts…

  • Featured,  Form

    Vision, incorporated

    With its comprehensive redesign and modern, sophisticated material finishes, a commercial architectural project in Grandville, Michigan, by Mathison | Mathison Architects, has helped reorganize and unify a more than 70-year-old technological brand in the area and its triad of business entities within one transformed building.  The companies, comprising Van Dyken Mechanical Inc., Grand Valley Automation Inc., and Mechanical Testing Services Inc., operate in an approximately 35,000-square-foot building and frequently collaborate on projects, though their interior workspaces were dated, shut away from natural light, and left each entity without a defined visual brand. At the time of a recent ownership change, it was decided that the building either needed to be…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Form

    Tower work 

    When heading south along the eastern banks of the Scioto Greenways trail toward the Scioto Mile Promenade in downtown Columbus, a structure clad in Imperial Red granite and bronze-tone glass comes into view set back from the Scioto River’s edge. Nestled into the built landscape, the 1984-built, approximately one-million-square-foot building soars about 512 feet into the air and is visually flanked by the Art Deco-inspired beacon of LeVeque Tower and the Vern Riffe State Office Tower along the urban trail.  Developed by Hines a Texas-based privately owned global real estate investment, development, and management firm, and designed by the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, or SOM, in…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Form

    Timeless estate

    Upon approach, the French Chateau-inspired residence in Hinsdale, Illinois captures a certain je ne sais quoi in time. Beyond a set of restored, original 1926 iron gates and stone columns detailed with welcoming, ornamental pineapples, a long drive draws the onlooker down a path lined with statuesque trees to a front courtyard where an approximately 14,500-square-foot estate stands in warm grandeur.  There is a commanding romanticism to its winged exterior defined by brick and stone, arched entries, and dramatic rooflines; and a classic take on its transitional interior where English antiques are set against a light palette. Once the site of an estate designed by R. Harold Zook, an early…