• Glen Arbor Art Center
    Featured,  Form,  Travel

    Gallery in the woods

    A well-travelled summer destination in northern Michigan, the small but vibrant township of Glen Arbor rests in the crook of Lake Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Bay, offering walkable shoreline and sunsets second-to-none, and thick pockets of forested areas that cool active summer months. It is one of these areas a gem of revived architectural prowess sits.  The Glen Arbor Arts Center, formerly the Glen Arbor Art Association is a unique, multi-dimensional space between a nature preserve and the commercial center of town. Its original building had housed several programs from gallery exhibitions and lectures to art classes for several age groupings and even an art residency program; in all, an enduring…

  • Scavolini, Michigan Design Center, island kitchen, photo by Jeff Aisen
    Featured,  Form

    Scavolini in Detroit

    A rich vein of high Italian style, both rustic and traditional, and sleek and contemporary, permeates international interior design markets, including that in the American Midwest. Since its founding in Pesaro Italy in 1961, Scavolini has been a brand synonymous with stylistically relevant, highly functional and Italian-made living arrangements. It is known for its ability to transform kitchens and bathrooms with styles and finishes that support even the busiest of culinary homes, and branches of its stateside arm, Scavolini USA Inc., appear everywhere from Miami and its Soho Gallery flagship store in New York, to Las Vegas and, for the last decade, in Birmingham, Michigan.  As of September 2020, in…

  • Featured,  Form,  Travel

    Great North

    Other than the distinctive, lakeside residential styles born from craftsmanship that are second-to-none, and regional access to the fruits of trade and industry—from agriculture to winemaking—the Michigan real estate market hosts a number of opportunities for recreational real estate. Dozens of riparian and lake-mass waterways create ample fishing and boating opportunities, while rich, forested pockets throughout—and upper regions specifically—make for fine camping, hunting, and lake homes. It is within this unique sector of recreational real estate, both regionally in Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas, and nationwide, that Great North Real Estate of Alpena, Michigan works and travels.  “It’s the diversity of the market from a recreational aspect [that is unique],”…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Hospitality by healthcare

    “Design is a practical practice. There is a misconception that interior designers come up with creative ideas and make things happen almost magically, but that is not the case at all. A good design is very thoughtful,” said Kathryn Chaplow, interior designer and owner of Kathryn Chaplow LLC in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Kathryn Chaplow LLC is an interior design firm specializing in both residential and commercial markets for new construction and remodel work. Chaplow, a practicing designer of more than 20 years, and her studio team were tapped early on when it came to the Bengston Center for Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery in Grand Rapids—along with AMDG Architects Inc., First…

  • 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,…

  • 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,…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Light inspiration

    Artistic parallels are often drawn to architecture, building on a core function that began as a shelter building practice. It has offered opportunities for the creation of artistic and poetic alludes through structure, and modern materials—and their innovative evolution—have furthered the tradition when things such as acoustics or light are applied to a space.  What began as a poetic exploration of light, shadow, and space manipulation during a thesis project at the University of Michigan for Abhinand Lath, founder and president of Sensitile Systems in Ypsilanti, Michigan, resulted in a patented, groundbreaking architectural innovation. Since then, Sensitile Systems has become an award-winning, internationally recognized manufacturer of glass, resin, and terrazzo…