• Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Barbershop lounge

    “There is a lot of same-old-same-old in the world and differentiating yourself to really make sure you are answering questions for your guests or customers that aren’t even asked—that you have thought through it—design is everything about that,” said James Geier, founder and president of 555 International in Chicago. “Answer the questions before they are asked and when somebody walks in they know it is a good, rich environment that has been pulled together for the right reasons, not just all these miscellaneous ideas.” 555 International is an award-winning global interior design, development, and fabrication firm specializing in the commercial, retail, and hospitality industries. For more than three decades, the…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Design, in virtual

    As adjustments have been made left and right to carry on everyday routines, resourcefulness and creativity in communities and industry are as relevant as ever. Even in the design sphere, creative leaders are finding ways to deliver great design; and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, founder and principal at Visbeen Architects LLC is at the head of the curve with a newly launched interactive video service delivering the same results as his in-person consultations: fully developed, custom home illustrations that are ready to implement.  “I’m drawing right on my pad, my overhead camera is on my paper, and [clients are] watching it and interacting with me as…

  • Featured,  Form

    Expanded footprint

    Founded in 2007 in Chicago’s residential Lakeview neighborhood, dSPACE Studio has become known for its striking, street-smart and sustainable custom residential projects, including urban dwellings and vacation homes. Alongside its distinctive contemporary aesthetic—often marked by generous glass enclosures, Earth tones, and intricately arranged forms—dSPACE is also adept at being multi-faceted, both in their designs that respond to client taste and locale, and the areas where the firm’s handiwork is found.  The dSPACE portfolio spans the United States and dips into international regions, but for Founding Principal Kevin Toukoumidis, AIA, LEED, it is western Michigan’s pristine landscapes and breathable lot spaces that make some of the best settings for creating impactful…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Print Edition

    Six-string attitude

    The stage is set: a hush settles over the crowd, smoke curls languidly on the floor, and lights draw eyes and ears to the platform. There is an avid anticipation—a collective intake of breath—as the crowd watches both guitarist and the iconic silhouette held before in an extension and expression of its player. It is an instrument that has defined and redefined sound and music, launching movements and inspiring generations—and when deft fingers strum its first strings, sending vibration and resonance from body and pickups to amplifier, it can strike a similar chord in its listeners when style and function are in harmony.  The electric guitar is an instrument that…

  • 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…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured,  Residential

    Design for Sale: Sommerset Pointe

    On Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Michigan, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa within the Sommerset Pointe Yacht Club and Marina’s lakeside residential collection offers a harmonious combination of lakefront living and active lifestyle. The property, a warm-weather refuge, will arrive on the market soon courtesy of Pat O’Brien and Associates Real Estate, a real estate brokerage firm specializing in northern Michigan’s luxury, residential, lakefront, and commercial properties. This Sommerset villa is designed for easy, everyday living and adaptable for entertaining lakeside. Soft hardwood floors cover the interior, which includes a spacious master suite and a semi-open kitchen with a generous island for gathering. An open living space toward the lake hosts…

  • Featured,  Form

    Vision, incorporated

    With its comprehensive redesign and modern, sophisticated material finishes, a commercial architectural project in Grandville, Michigan, by Mathison | Mathison Architects, has helped reorganize and unify a more than 70-year-old technological brand in the area and its triad of business entities within one transformed building.  The companies, comprising Van Dyken Mechanical Inc., Grand Valley Automation Inc., and Mechanical Testing Services Inc., operate in an approximately 35,000-square-foot building and frequently collaborate on projects, though their interior workspaces were dated, shut away from natural light, and left each entity without a defined visual brand. At the time of a recent ownership change, it was decided that the building either needed to be…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Travel

    Design dialogue

    Last year, the IIDA and AIA Chicago unveiled its inaugural discussion series Designers and Architects Talk: A Series About Design and Its Impact on Client Success. The four-part program addresses the commercial interior architecture and design sectors, and after a successful first installment, the series has returned to the IIDA Headquarters in Chicago for 2020, with a variety of new voices from the design community, primarily in Chicago. “IIDA and AIA Chicago initiated this series to bring architects and commercial interior designers together to learn from interesting conversations and to also connect with each other,” said John Czarnecki, Hon. IIDA, Assoc. AIA, deputy director and senior vice president of IIDA.…

  • Design Spotlight,  Featured

    Movement evolution

    Following the landmark merger of the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis and the YMCA of Greater St. Paul in 2012, and creation of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, the Minnesota-based, nonprofit organization looked to move its headquarters to a new location. The site, positioned in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, would not only serve to accommodate its larger staff, membership, and programmatic needs, but also reflect its founding mission, enduring identity, and intentional thought of tomorrow.  “We sought to relocate our downtown Minneapolis facility, along with our corporate office, as the next step in our legacy and to gain greater exposure by making sure the Y, [or YMCA], is…