• 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…

  • 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

    Queries & Theories

    Often the term “climate change” is registered as a broad, looming development that impacts the environment on a global scale. Those active in the discussion of climate action, however, would counter that it encompasses everything from rising oceans and individual mentalities to local communities and cultural heritage sites.  As a forum for breaking into issues of climate change and the roles of climate action, the internationally renowned, full-service architectural and planning firm of Quinn Evans has launched a four-part webcast series called Queries & Theories. The series features thought leaders around the country in robust, 30-minute conversations centered on climate action and the continually evolving urban era in the context…

  • 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…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    NeoConnect

    Since 1969, NeoCon has punctuated each June with its eagerly awaited, three-day showcase of all things cutting-edge design in the commercial interiors industry. International design enthusiasts and design firms—specializing in everything from workplace textiles to ergonomic tech gadgets—converge in Chicago for three days of robust educational programming, informative and engaging keynote presentations from industry leaders, and the latest innovations and emerging talent in the industry.  Though this summer’s NeoCon has been cancelled, returning to Chicago in 2021, its organizers have filled its space with a content-rich virtual hub that will connect the design community for the entire month of June 2020, and beyond. The interactive online platform, called NeoConnect, launches…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Green design

    A modular partition and trellis made from regenerated resin; a Puerto Rico-based, non-profit organization repairing hurricane-affected communities with solar power; and an entire city district in Dubai designed by the Chicago-based firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture LLP: these are all projects from 20 different nations unified by the new GREEN GOOD DESIGN awards.  GREEN GOOD DESIGN awards are a special edition of the nearly 70-year-old GOOD DESIGN™ awards, which was founded in Chicago by Edgar Kaufmann Jr., Eero Saarinen, and Charles and Ray Eames, and organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. In…