• Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Print Edition

    The Kohlstedt Keep

    The drama of Lake Superior rivals that of any oceanic system on Earth. Its surface area makes it the largest freshwater lake in the world, in the heart of the Midwest, and its remarkably clean, cold waters are punctuated by sharp rip currents and waves that can top 30 feet. In some places, extrusions of ancient mafic rock reveal the underbelly of the basin, which has been carved by eruptions of molten basalt approximately one billion years ago and the gentle kneading of glacial forms thereafter.  Land side, the lake’s westward buffer, Minnesota, is covered nearly 33 percent by rich packs of coniferous and deciduous forest that also make it…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Upcycle and silk

    With millions of tons of textiles being produced around the world each year—and a similar amount ending up in landfills, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency—fashion labels and industry entrants have become increasingly creative with what would be considered their “waste” fabric, though countless practices would need to be reversed to create a sustainable industry. For one Toronto-based fashion brand, a comprehensive investment in the sustainable fashion movement manifests in garments crafted from one sustainable, often overlooked material: traditional South Asian saris.  When Priya Mohan founded the brand sariKNOTsari, it was in the wake of a rich period working in the Canadian antiques market and sourcing items for…

  • Featured,  Travel

    Sculpted experience

    Museums tucked within nature, sculpture gardens offer unique experiences for those with a love of the outdoors and for the discerning art and design enthusiast that are increasingly appealing in a currently deepening digital reality. The Midwest is home to a variety of sculpture gardens of varying sizes, whether independently owned and operated, or a result of rich, decades-long collaboration between organizations invested in regional arts, design, and environmental wellbeing and education.  Great Lakes By Design takes a moment to marvel at sculpture gardens throughout the Great Lakes region, where visitors can find everything from curated explorations of tropical flora, a carnivorous plant house, and brass-cast depictions of America’s first…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Connection point

    Discovery, expression, and connection: they are concepts that define the role resource centers can play at both the local community and international level. Resources, regardless of type—natural, physical, human, or speculative—by definition are assets to be drawn upon for functional needs, and the spaces built around them, in support or in preservation, offer a place of collaboration, education, and experience.  From the literary temples of poetic, philosophic, and historical work—and the modern library that has evolved from it to meet ever-evolving needs of communities—and the more intangible boundaries that house the ecological conservation of parks and oceans, to the places that house the creative work of industry, resource centers, like…

  • 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,…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Biophilic design, in study

    In June 2020, Stantec, a global design firm, publicly released the results of a biophilic design research study aimed at identifying the correlation between individual workplace performance and holistic wellbeing conducted through the Healthy Building Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While the concept of biophilic design has been studied in the healthcare setting, this particular study—sponsored by Stantec’s Creativity & Innovation program—identified some interesting tenets about human health and the body’s response to biophilic design in terms of healing and healing rates in a workplace that requires employees to be creative and innovative.  “We, as an organization, have built our design ethos around the platform…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Preservation by design

    Detroit’s architectural fabric is rich with unique historical structures—some recognizable, others more discreet—that have continually been re-purposed for the modern-day city. They also double as keenly protected sites for historic conservationists, one of which was recently recognized by both the Michigan chapter of the AIA and Michigan Historic Preservation Network for its sensitive design and rehabilitation of two historic buildings located in Detroit’s Corktown and the Greektown neighborhood areas. The firm, McIntosh Poris Associates, is an integral full-service architecture and design force for historic building preservation in Detroit and other areas of service. Since its founding in 1994, McIntosh Poris Associates, based in Birmingham, Michigan, has garnered more than 100…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Color forecast

    As part of NeoConnect’s summer exhibition series, the platform recently hosted an informative presentation on the latest developments affecting changing, global society’s color consumption on June 24, 2020. The presentation, “2021 CMG World Color Forecast: From Beyond the Telescope to Under the Microscope,” was hosted by NeoConnect, presented by the Design Center by theMART, and moderated by two professionals from the Color Marketing Group, or CMG. The not-for-profit international association is designed for and by color design professionals and aims to create accurate and relevant color and trend forecast information through an interconnected global network of members.  Peggy Van Allen, president at CMG and a designer and Color Anthropologist with…

  • Featured,  Form,  Travel

    The Crosswinds Marsh

    Near the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, a collaborative project nearly 25 years-old continues to hold precedent for environmental design and ecological restoration. The Crosswinds Marsh Wetland Interpretive Preserve in New Boston, Michigan, is one of the largest self-sustaining wetland mitigation projects in the United States, and was a collaboration between SmithGroup, a renowned champion for environmental design, and the nearby Wayne County Airport Authority that was completed in 1995.  Last year, it received a Landmark Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects and has, to date, naturally attracted around 30 mammal species—including deer, muskrat, and beavers—to its more than 1,000 acres, along with 21 reptile and amphibian species,…