• Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Catalyst for innovation

    In 1956, Arthur Kornberg, American biochemist, realized a pursuit in biochemistry that forever changed the landscape and nature of biology. Kornberg’s discovery of DNA polymerase I not only led to the 1959 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine—shared with Severo Ochoa for his discovery of RNA polymerase—but also served as a catalyst for a biotechnology revolution. Kornberg’s exploration in enzymes and innovative work isolating DNA polymerase—and synthesizing DNA in a test tube—would ultimately lead to the development of genetically engineered drugs to treat illnesses like cancer and autoimmune disorders, pave the way for gene sequencing, and inspire generations in scientific discovery, process, and curiosity. His work would also lead to…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Waterfront glassworks

    “To me, architectural design is the culmination of so many things—art, sculpture, engineering, mechanics, ecology—and the concept of taking a client’s dream, turning that into lines on paper, and then transforming it into a massive piece of engineered art that someone lives inside of for years is extremely gratifying,” said Kevin Akey, owner of AZD Associates Architects Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. AZD Associates is an award-winning, full-service architecture and design firm delivering client-sensitive, forward-thinking projects in the residential, commercial, and remodel spaces. Established in 1990 by Akey and Frank Zychowski, owner and architect at AZD Associates Architects, the firm has since developed a portfolio of work across both architectural…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Freshwater future

    As a collective of fresh water that houses more than 20 percent of North America’s freshwater volume, the Great Lakes hold a unique status among American waterways. They require special consideration and treatment, especially in the face of climate change’s adverse effects. While the Great Lakes have a long, natural history of water level fluctuation, recent levels signal a decidedly more extreme phase in the pattern. The past few years have seen some of the lakes’ highest recorded water levels, which can cause destruction from flooding and erosion to damaged shoreline homes and infrastructure across the Great Lakes Basin’s approximately 14,000 miles of shoreline. Headquartered in Detroit but operating across…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Energy strategies

    At its 7th Annual Michigan Energy Summit, the Michigan Battle of the Buildings program announced 2020’s award winning sustainable organizations and businesses. The awards and recognition program highlights energy-use reduction and efficient practices across Michigan’s commercial, industrial, and multi-family buildings each year. Since the start of pandemic, especially, commercial building owners and managers have needed to adapt with significant changes in energy, water, health, and safety measures and many have risen to the occasion. The 2020 awardees represent six of these organizations, including the TCF Center in Detroit, the University of Michigan’s Office of Campus Sustainability in Ann Arbor; Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hastings; Fifth Third Bank in Kentwood; Spectrum…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Sustainability Deep Dive

    As a shepherd of product ideas and designs for the human environment, the industrial design industry has a huge impact on the climate crisis and outstretched waste statistics around the world. To unpack this reality and connect through solutions, the Industrial Designers Society of America, or IDSA, kicked off its inaugural Sustainability Deep Dive conference last year, which tackled the complexity of imbuing the product lifecycle with sustainable processes, strategies, and experiences. This month, the conference made its second annual trek across current themes and innovations in industrial design and sustainability, and the resulting programming was a rich exploration of concrete solutions, wonderous and science-backed products, hopeful-but-firm calls to action,…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Empathy in industry

    A reusable epinephrine auto-injector; a minimalist household composter; an eco-friendly and contemporary ceramic and glass toaster: there’s no lack of innovation within University of Cincinnati alum Mary Friedl’s expanding portfolio. The industrial designer graduated from the university’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning last May 2020 and promptly won a competition for designing an eco-friendly toaster as a part of the Industrial Designers Society of America’s Sustainability Deep Dive 2020 conference. With an overarching goal for creating empathetic and impactful design work, Friedl has delved into design research and work that promotes health and sustainability, whether through products purposed for medical environments or those of which simply bring people…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Design Corner: Work Tents

    Steelcase Inc. recently introduced a new solution in flexibility and privacy, known as Steelcase Work Tents. The architectural space divider designed for the office environment delivers the comfort of the camping tent to the workplace. Created in collaboration with a world-class tent designer, Steelcase Work Tents are meant to bring a sense of spatial security and enclosure to commercial spaces, while promoting individualized focus and privacy. The small, enclosed structures will be available in three versions and introduced to the market in three phases with the Boundary Tent currently available and the additional two versions, Table Tent and Pod Tent, launching in spring and summer 2021, respectively. The Boundary Tent…

  • GLBD - Bundle Dye | Oswald West
    Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Natural energy

    From daytime textile designers to moonlighting developers of sustainably dyed fabrics, the trio behind the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Eso Studio are driven by a passion for textile design that has come to include equal parts art and science. Inspired by the renewal energy of nature and committed to the act of reusing, the designers form a studio dedicated to natural, hand-worked dyeing processes that have been used to design sustainable textiles for hundreds of centuries. Their individual expertise spans the interiors and textile industries, from a Midwest handbag company and international brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton to a commission for the White House Family Dining Room, and it was…

  • Etna Supply Kintsu bath fixtures -- Courtesy of Brizo
    Featured,  Form

    Transitional in accessory

    The kitchen has become a multi-faceted living space and many specialists in the kitchen and bath accessories market are delivering innovative new products and technologies to meet the needs of homeowners, contractors, engineers, and designers. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, ETNA Supply Company has been serving industries since 1965 as a plumbing products distributor with six state-wide showrooms and a suite of products and services that aid designers and homeowners in creating their ideal kitchen and bath. As consultants for these spaces, the representatives at Infusion Kitchen & Bath Showrooms by ETNA Supply—the company’s series of showrooms—are familiar with the ways they have and have not functionally changed alongside the current…