• 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…

  • 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…

  • Featured,  Form

    Freshwater hub

    Milwaukee, Wisconsin is changing the narrative on the post-industrial urban landscape. Not unlike many of its like coastal communities—hubs of economic prosperity carved into the shoreline of the world’s largest freshwater system—Milwaukee’s industrial past took advantage of its port and waterways to fuel its growth and development during the 19th and 20th centuries. Yet now, the city is re-emerging as a nationally—and internationally—recognized hub for innovation, sustainability, and water technologies by leveraging its regional asset. By transforming its approach to water, the urban landscape has become a stage where green infrastructure initiatives, as well as critical global water challenges, are not only part of the dialogue, but also an active…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Travel

    Center for arts

    Nearly a year ago, northern Michigan gained a world-class performing arts complex and venue that continues to provide the area with a meeting space for regional arts communities and internationally-acclaimed artists. The Great Lakes Center for the Arts has been called a big city experience on the shoreline of Little Traverse Bay in Bay Harbor, Michigan, and its architecture, technological features, and overall mission position it as such among the Midwest’s centers for art and entertainment.  Designed by architecture, design, and engineering practice TowerPinkster, the nearly $25 million structure was part of a community cultural plan nearly 20 years in the making, which specified a need for an additional state-of-the-art…

  • Featured,  Print Edition

    Nick Liebler, LEED AP

    Nick Liebler, LEEP AP, architect, and partner at White & Liebler Architects in Petoskey, Michigan is inspired by the idea of craft in design.  “You’re creating something that didn’t exist before, so the challenge of being able to take a given set of ideas and turn it into something tangible—that would be what is most exciting to me about design,” Liebler said. “It is just the opportunity to create something and use your imagination to develop something within a set of parameters.”  Having fallen in love with the craft of building and creating homes through working in the construction industry, Liebler noted the commercial work was a bit different than…

  • Print Edition

    Kevin Montgomery, AIA, LEED GA

    “A few years ago, I really decided to embrace the idea of you don’t know what you don’t know. Our job is something that the best of them are in their prime when they are in their final stage of their career, potentially, and it is because you can continue to master more and more of what goes into the building since there is so much to it,” said Kevin Montgomery, AIA, LEED GA, architect and partner at KrM Architecture+ in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Montgomery’s own beginning with architecture was somewhat of a family affair: his father is a practicing architect and his grandfather founded KrM Achitecture+ in Anderson, Indiana in…

  • Architecture,  Form,  Print Edition

    Kenneth C. Richmond, AIA

    For Ken Richmond, AIA, founder, and partner at Ken Richmond, Architect in Traverse City, Michigan, a day in the life will often see him spending a certain amount of time interacting with clients and consultants, office time, and field time, and dealing with the process of building—which he pointed out is different than the end result.  “To me the process is 90 percent of what we do and arguably more interesting, more important, and a lot of times more fun than the actual product, the actual end result,” Richmond said. While collaborating with clients during the design process—and often consultants as well—Richmond said there is a great deal of time…

  • Design Spotlight

    Iron and ivory

    “There was something consistent no matter where I studied and that was the principles of Vitruvius, who was an architectural philosopher in the Roman Empire. He really stressed good design is focused around three main components, which is feasibility, beauty, and durability; so essentially function, beauty, and strength,” said Kayla Pongrac, principal, designer, and co-founding partner of Iron and Ivory in Ontario, Canada. “That is the philosophy behind our brand.” Iron and Ivory is an interior design firm with a collaborative environment led by Co-Founding Partners Pongrac and Rnea Garrah from its two locations in Ottawa and Toronto, Ontario. At its core, the small firm embraces a philosophy inspired by…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Tactile language

    In the 1990s, Founder and Artistic Director Iris Wang noticed sunlight through a cascade of maple leaves outside of her kitchen window, which doubled as her studio at the time for the humble warehouse operations of Brentano Inc. It would serve as the catalyst for the small company as Wang then blended a painted Japanese-inspired maple leaf with a series of sketched horizontal lines derived from bamboo shades—putting Brentano in the black and well on its way to becoming the international textile house and fabric source that it has become today.  “In the past there were a lot of fabrics that were only pretty to look at, but you couldn’t…