• Featured,  Print Edition

    Great Lakes By Design: Raising the Bar

    CONTENTS DESIGN CORNER 17 Concrete Pig | a design-build furniture studio pushing the envelope of the expected through sculptural and often gravity-defying work in concrete and in wood 18 Encaustic | the investigative painter and sculptor who welcomes the unpredictable entropy of wax and mixed metals 19 Alt Pen | the minimalist ball point pen designed as a precision tool kit by a product design firm in Chicago   DESIGN SPOTLIGHT 38 Catalyst for innovation | a Wisconsin-based biotechnology leader’s latest facility is a celebration of scientific discovery as it seeks to capture the spirit of collaboration and innovation 75 The Mill | the transformation of a manufacturing complex in Bloomington, Indiana reimagines the spaces as an innovation hub and…

  • Featured,  Form

    The Future of Work

    As one of North America’s most significant gatherings of commercial interior design experts, NeoCon has long driven conversations about healthy workspaces and their ideal ergonomic finish. As such, it is fitting that at the upcoming relaunch of the convention’s physical programming in October, conversations about the “future of work” will be central in discussions and events. Through its virtual programming and in-person events at theMART in Chicago, NeoCon is set to examine product and design solutions that contribute to the inclusive, efficient, and user-focused workplaces critical to the well-being of, and retention of, today’s workforce. “For more than 50 years, NeoCon has helped launch product solutions that meet, and even…

  • Featured,  Form,  Print Edition

    Energy in scale

    In the wake of uncertainty across social, economic, and environmental systems, and as many stand on the cusp of cautious optimism for the future, the idea of resiliency has emerged as a vital, multifaceted concept for individuals and industries. Resilience is about the capacity and tenacity of the human spirit and industrial endurance to not only survive, but thrive in the face of external forces and disruptive stressors. It is a concept and often comprehensive strategy with a diverse interpretation as it is applied to operations, communities, coastal environments, and the personal experience. When Ghafari Associates LLC, an architecture and planning firm headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, was tapped in late…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    NeoCon designs anew

    Beginning this month, the world’s leading expo for the commercial interiors industry, NeoCon, will convert the major disruptions of this past year into a robust virtual spring and summer programming series leading up to the expo’s physical return to theMART in Chicago from October 4th through 6th, 2021. The online programming series will begin March 24th and run through the physical event in October, centering on the increasingly relevant theme of “Designing Anew.” Besides offering the NeoCon community opportunities to remotely dip into an array of live sessions, expanded virtual modules, and topical events, NeoCon’s virtual prelude seeks to connect design professionals and enthusiasts with invaluable education, networking opportunities, and…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Crafted collection

    Room & Board, the iconic Minneapolis-based furnishings designer, throughout the years has pulled inspiration from revived design movements like Arts and Crafts, and Shaker styles as it creates furniture with tried-and-true design principles reinterpreted for modern living, as well as commercial markets.  Its residential offerings range from mattresses and ottomans to wall clocks and chandeliers, and they also contain conscientious initiatives like The Urban Wood Project—a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, that sources urban harvested, reclaimed wood—and a general preference for working with small artisanal and business outfits to bring designs to life. The firm also has a branch dedicated to commercial interior furnishings, called…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Biophilic design, in study

    In June 2020, Stantec, a global design firm, publicly released the results of a biophilic design research study aimed at identifying the correlation between individual workplace performance and holistic wellbeing conducted through the Healthy Building Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. While the concept of biophilic design has been studied in the healthcare setting, this particular study—sponsored by Stantec’s Creativity & Innovation program—identified some interesting tenets about human health and the body’s response to biophilic design in terms of healing and healing rates in a workplace that requires employees to be creative and innovative.  “We, as an organization, have built our design ethos around the platform…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured

    Navigating what’s next

    State leaders are in the process of lifting restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting businesses of all kinds to rework their strategies for physically inhabiting workspace, as quickly as they had to initially shutter their doors. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, workspace furnishing leader Steelcase Inc. and its family of brands—which include Coalesse, Turnstone, and Designtex, among others—started that strategizing process long ago and have been publishing guides and advice for reworking the workspace to reflect the unique new needs of employees and staff members returning to work. In the firm’s April edition of the guide Navigating What’s Next: The Post-COVID Workplace, it shares strategies that can help organizations navigate…

  • 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…

  • 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…