• Featured,  Form

    Layer and texture

    Amy Kartheiser, principal designer at Amy Kartheiser Design in Chicago, Illinois, discovered a love for design while working on a personal project. Though her background is in business, Kartheiser grew up with design in her blood and when working on her first condominium—involved in designing an entire interior from floor to ceiling with the help of her mom, who is also a designer—it resulted in a devotion to the craft that would shape her current Chicago-based studio upon its establishment in 2014.  The firm is known for transforming Chicago residential interiors into rich, dimensional, and personalized living spaces through a unique blending of modern and traditional elements. At the core…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Precious bonds 

    There is something both timeless and romantic to the narrative of precious stones and metals. It is an industry that has transcended as its artisans and designers instill their skill and passion into every polished diamond and each finely wrought metal. There is a story to be told, one of nuanced characteristics that make each stone and metal unique, and of artistry as hands carefully weave beauty and delight into each finished piece of fine jewelry. It is expressive and emotive, in both its wearing and its crafting.  For Dana Rebecca Gordon, founder and jewelry designer of Dana Rebecca Designs in Chicago, Illinois, jewelry has an ability to connect with…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Modern polish

    In Hudsonville, Michigan, the specialty proto-design shop at Banyan Tree Fabworks is known for creating custom furnishings out of unique historic machinery and vintage artifacts. From steel tables and wine racks supported by massive industrial gears, to woodworking jointers fashioned into sleek, modern desks; the firm’s entire portfolio represents the experimental nature of repurposing some of the 20th century’s most hard-working artifacts. To date, however, one of its prized works of experimental design success is a rounded bar made from a preserved 1955 Cadillac Series 62 sedan. “I think what makes this [project] unique is we really pushed the boundaries of what our capabilities are,” said Greg Davis, vice president…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Film, developing

    David Alexander, a Chicago-based freelance-one-stop-shop filmmaker and videographer, has a background in everything from architecture and music videos to documentaries. Alexander has captured numerous high-income residential properties in the Windy City, including spaces like Lake Point Tower—a high-rise that houses condominiums overlooking Navy Pier and the rest of the cityscape—among others. It was about 10 years ago when Alexander was working as a car salesman, part of an industrial rock band, and renting out rooms in his house, when his passion for filmmaking sparked when a tenant-and-friend happened to show him a college project. “I was doing fine at Mercedes for six years, but I was desperate to get out…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Print Edition

    Sophy serenade

    In the early decades of the 1900s, Hyde Park, Chicago hospitality was illustrated by its hotels of grand, architectural statement. The Sherry, The Flamingo, The Shoreland, and Del Prado had reputations for not only welcoming local residents and visitors alike, but also for hosting renowned figures such as Duke Ellington, Amelia Earhart, Elvis Presley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, and Yogi Berra to imbibe in the cultural, artistic, and intellectual tour-de-force social epicenter along the shores of Lake Michigan. It was—and remains—a South Side Chicago neighborhood whose soul is deeply rooted in diversity and a celebration for arts, music, literature, science, and knowledge. Its landscape is a rich fabric…

  • Form,  Relish

    Spatialized success

    For the design-make architecture studio of Synecdoche Design Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, design is a key ingredient that can be used to spatialize a business model, according to Principal Architect Lisa Sauve, AIA, NCARB, ASID, IIDA. The studio was recently recognized for its skills in the area—this concept of giving spatial form or consideration of in space relations—with an award for best low-budget project at the 2019 AIA Michigan Honor Awards Ceremony in June for its transformation of Thrive Juicery in Ann Arbor. The design of the approximately 1,800-square-foot interior was informed by the juicery’s core values—health and wellness—around which Synecdoche rotated a variety of tools for creating custom…

  • Design Spotlight,  Print Edition

    Dream boat

    Water, in its many forms, could be considered a first and final frontier. A fundamental element of survival, its freshwater bodies are a priceless resource and have led to vast, complex cities developed at its shorelines. Its waterways have proven to be vital conduits for the transportation of commercial goods and services, and in the Great Lakes region, offer a sprawling, interconnected aquatic playground for recreational boating elements. In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, there is a company that has built a legacy of designing and building custom, handcrafted vessels since the mid-1800s with the launch of small 20-to-30-foot fishing boats for local commercial fishermen. For the next 156 years, the company would…

  • Form,  Print Edition

    A royal renovation

    In Evanston, Illinois—a city defined by its tree-lined sidewalks and collection of homes—architecture is a diverse language. Beaux-Arts, Prairie, Italianate, Victorian, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne are dialects spoken across intersections and around block corners, passing down their stories through iconic massing, decorative ornamentation, gables, brick and stone, gently sloped rooflines, and the occasional tower or turret. In the renovation of this particular Queen Anne residence, a style known for its irregular roof shapes, bay windows, dramatic massing, and multiple gables and dormers, the homeowners envisioned a design respectful of the heritage in its walls and wove in dynamic elements reflective of their young family lifestyle. Once the home…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Redesigning identity

    The Detroit area has long been a metropolis of creative endeavors, from art and architecture, to music and culinary pursuits. For six decades, Skidmore Studio has been integral in this development as an illustration-turned-branding-and-design firm that seeks to nurture the region’s creative talent, while also employing an empathetic and flexible approach to problem-solving.  Recently, the firm utilized this process to perform its own visual rebranding in tandem with its 60th anniversary, replacing largely introspective brand elements with outgoing designs. “Its new visual personality focuses on clarity and flexibility, with new, minimal typography replacing the classic Skidmore Studio logo, which was comprised by the letter “S,” for Skidmore, and an intersecting…