Daydreaming at The Rookery

Chicago is a visual wonderland. We could walk downtown every day and still see something new and intriguing. One delightful location to sketch and let your eyes wander is The Rookery.

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The lobby or “light court,” designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, has an airiness unlike any other skyscraper in the Financial District. The openness gives room to soften into the space. Our eyes get lost in the gorgeous geometric details repeated throughout, down to the smallest detail.

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If you are feeling creatively stuck, this is the field trip for you.

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María Elena González, Sculptor

We are greatly anticipating María Elena González’s upcoming show at Herschel + Adler Gallery in New York City. María’s work is rooted in the use of natural materials such as wood and pulp papers resonating with our connection to the natural world.

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Turn #1

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Over the past few years, she has branched out to music and video work to accompany her sculptures. Maria is an explorer of the arts, constantly delving into the best mediums to express her work’s message. As Maria explores immersive elements in her pieces, she will include piano performances to accompany her Skowhegan Birch series during her “Tree Talks.” The performances will play compositions that sound like the forest. We anticipate the show to be quite an enlivening experience.

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Skowhegan Birch#2

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Alban Fischer, graphic designer

It’s always interesting to learn about how the creative process works for other designers. Alban Fischer, most known for his imaginative book covers, describes the first step for him starts with type. Walking through our favorite book store his expressive lettering is a warm invitation to the stories inside. Alban affirms, “We need covers to reinforce our beliefs in a book’s power.”

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His collaboration with Curbside Splendor Publishing in Chicago has produced a variety typefaces. He manipulates letters, partially concealing them or crinkling them up, at times making them appear to move around the cover. Alban’s dynamic type truly expresses the tone of the stories bubbling inside.

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Insignificana, 2016

After creating the cover and layout for the first edition of Amber Sparks “May We Shed these Human Bodies”, he was invited back by Curbside to redesign the second edition. We believe the hand lettered type for the second edition is a more astute visualization of the books whimsical plot.

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May We Shed these Human Bodies, First Edition, 2012

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Second Edition, 2015

When graphic design mixes imagery and type,  it makes book design an interest of ours. Due to designers like Alban, books continue to engage us with fresh voices. We celebrate his artistic evolution.

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National Library of France renovations: weaving worlds together

After years of renovations commencing in 2011, the National Library of France in Paris was unveiled. We are particularly drawn to the complexity of the project bravely taken on by architects Bruno Gaudin and Virginie Bregal. The project’s objective to update the building, constructed in 1869, for the growing visitor population and to update the site for modern building regulation posed a mammoth challenge.

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What most inspires us is how well the renovations keep the integrity of the library while introducing a spirited lightness to the space.A detailed thought process is the wellspring of great design.  The architects conducted thorough studies on historical materials to execute the best practices in integrating modern materials such as aluminum, steel and LEDs.

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Interestingly, Gaudin and Bregal decided to strip the flooring in areas of the library to expose the earlier structural updates from the 1930s. The revealing of the materials and additions of airy glass walkways beautifully weaves together the evolution of the institution.

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The story of the library will continue to unfold as the second phase of renovations is not set to be completed until 2020. We’ll stay tuned.

 

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Zaha Hadid’s posthumous vision: Opus Office Tower

Although architect great Zaha Hadid “Queen of the Curve” left us in 2016, we are delighted to learn that her visions will continue to live on. Over the next few years Zaha’s plans will guide thirty more projects. The Opus Office Towers in Dubai are one example of her in progress projects. The interior office and apartments spaces will be based on Zaha’s designs featuring her signature warm curves and open floor plans.

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The design echoes our favorite project of hers the Heyday Aliyev Center in the Republic of Azerbaijan.  Her goal was always to encourage meaningful interaction, Zaha sought for her work “to be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think.”  We aspire to carry her wisdom with us in our upcoming pieces for 2017.

We may not have had a chance to see it in person, but we hope you do!

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IntoConcrete pen

With a new year beginning, the desire to reorganize and update the office unsurprisingly follows. Without a doubt, we are very keen on stylish office supplies which led us to discover IntoConcrete. The design group based in Chicago, is known for its unusual treatment of concrete in all of their products, which include jewelry and lighting in addition to office accessories.

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Unexpected use of a material always fascinates us and we are particularly intrigued by the rollerball pen.  The pen is sturdy yet streamlined plus refillable and would go beautifully with any office. It’s a great start, but we really we have our eyes on the full set.

rollerball_01rollerball_04_grandeAs always, please follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterest and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony Glass Sound speaker

The best design has some element of surprise, which is why we were delighted to come across the Sony Glass Sound Speaker.  This is the most untraditional bluetooth speaker we have ever seen.  The glass cylinder is able to transmit sound that is crisp and clear and is reported to capture the human voice with surprising clarity.

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The aluminum base houses the speaker which is battery powered, while the glass top holds an LED filament that mimics candlelight. We appreciate how it harkens back to the old technology of a lantern yet has the latest light and sound technology within.  It is subtle, refined and casts a sound and glow that will compliment rooms of any style or period.

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Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

The design of a museum can be a curious exploration. The structure needs to meet the needs of the art that will be displayed within yet it also should present itself with comparable style and innovation.  The Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis has risen to the challenge.

A new home for modern art at UC Davis.

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The most striking feature is the undulating rooftop canopy installation known as “The Grand Canopy.” The massive covering encompasses  50,00 square feet of the museum’s interior and grounds. The canopy will be the focus of the museums’s first exhibit SO – IL: museum as process.” The show will feature interactive models showcasing the intriguing practices used by architecture firm SO-IL to create the space.

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The origami-like folds inspire us.

The installation is comprised of hundreds of triangle shaped aluminum infill beams pieces fanning out at varied lengths to create the woven appearance. It can also be considered a symbol for open dialogue between the public and university. Additionally, the rolling silhouette was conceived to echo the surrounding topography.  Exposed glass ceilings reveal the duct work and electrical wiring allowing viewers to continue to enjoy the twisting forms of the canopy.

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If you happen to be visiting the Sacramento area this winter season we hear that it’s a must see. During this time of year when it feels like the sun forgets to come out in Chicago, the airy space is a refreshing reminder of sunnier days to come.

 

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Ash + Ash sustainable design

Recently, we came across Ash + Ash, a home in Mount Tabor in Portland, designed by eco-friendly architecture firm Hennebery Eddy. Ash + Ash not only has lovely proportions, it’s also LEED certified.  The space includes rainwater recovery processing, transforming Oregon’s rainy days into safe drinking water.

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The wood covered interiors activate our creative thinking serving as a retreat from the hustle and grind of city living. Fingers crossed this beauty becomes open for visiting, perhaps on Airbnb… Large windows weave outdoor and indoor space together.
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Sleek solar panels are used as an energy source for the home including the solar heated pool.Recently, 2 Point Perspective, a Chicago based architecture firm specializing in LEED design, produced a particularly interesting project for Green Exchange in Logan Square.

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Ash + Ash piqued our curiosity and we learned that Chicago ranks  Number 1 for most LEED certified buildings in the country. We’re proud!

 

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Molekule air purifier

Have you ever seen a glamorous air purifier before? We certainly hadn’t until we came across this design by Postler and Ferguson. The London based studio collaborated with the tech group Molecule to create a streamlined take on a typically bulky utilitarian appliance.  We never thought an air purifier could be so covet worthy.

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