Around the house: Design lovers miss getaways that fuel creativity

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Ask any design dog what they missed during the pandemic and there’s a good chance they’ll have their eyes foggy on travel, rejoicing in how much they enjoy discovering other cities, where they are. discover important architecture of established and new names, find beautiful independent showrooms, restaurants and studios, visit favorite galleries and meet emerging artists. A trip like this, they will sigh, is a creative blow to the arm.

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For this design enthusiast, there are few cities better for this than Chicago. In fact, this is where I would have celebrated my 30e wedding anniversary around this time last year, if Covid had not decided otherwise.

We chose Chicago in part because that’s where my husband John was born. There is an older design heritage: His great-grandfather Frederick Baumann, who came to Chicago from Germany from Germany in 1850, was a leading architect in the bustling, energetic and uniquely American city.

In partnership with another architect named Edward Burling, Baumann built Chicago’s first large office space, the Marine Building on Lake and LaSalle streets. He is credited with designing the fundamentals necessary for the stability of tall buildings, which is quite important in a city known for its skyscrapers, many of which appear to rise from the banks of the Chicago River.

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This would be a great time to visit Chicago, as it is hot but not blistering. It is also a particularly active period in an already lively art and design scene. I’m sorry to miss the River North Design District Annual Walk of the Galleries, a visit of 20 places that present 25 artists and 18 designer vignettes in exhibition rooms that offer lighting, tiling, plumbing, rugs, kitchen and furniture. The vignettes will be valid until October 11.

Lukas Machnik Interiors creates depth and interest using an understated palette and carefully chosen elements. Photo by provided

I already know some of the people involved in the Chicago design community. I wrote not too long ago, for example, about Studio 6F designer Gil Melott, who is known for his skill in manipulating disparate elements – vintage pieces, family favorites and his own. custom furniture collection. He then told me that he tended to use art as a starting point for design. For a decor for high-end kitchen maker bulthaup, he chose the work of Colt Seager, large rooms with wonderfully balanced saturated color blocks and striking markings.

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The art of Linc Thelen, whose interior design I also covered, will be showcased at Calia Stone Boutique, a well-known Chicago source of granite, quartz, marble and porcelain. It should fit well in a space by Yamini Designs and Interiors by Francesca, where the color, pattern and texture of natural stone would complement the utterly modern and light-inspired layering of light, tones and colors- obscure of Thelen.

Any day is a good day to visit Oscar Isberian, where you can marvel at a sea of ​​ancient and rare handmade rugs. Currently, it serves as the backdrop for a vignette by Alissa Johnson Interiors featuring Lucy Slivinski, a Chicago-based sculptor, installation artist, and lighting designer who works with found materials to explore ideas. recycling, regeneration and innovation.

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Likewise, Cosentino’s flagship stores around the world are known for their attention to design and decoration. The Chicago showroom will feature Keith Smith AKA Afrokilla, whose art exudes color, energy and optimism.

Gil Melott of Studio 6F is a master at mixing new and vintage elements.
Gil Melott of Studio 6F is a master at mixing new and vintage elements. Photo by Photo: Aimėe Mazzenga

Taking the walk would have given me an IRL chance to see the work of Lukas Machnik, an interior designer, artist and object designer whose signature style is described as avant-garde minimalism with a “curatorial” approach. . His work appears at the Ligne Rosset showroom and showcases the art of Lonney White, a painter and sculptor whose work – striking organic forms made of encaustic wax and metallic alloy – is worth seeing up close.

Kudos to you, Covid, for ruining a trip to my favorite American design destination for the second year in a row. Well, maybe next year. In the meantime, we can all take a virtual tour at www.rivernorthdesigndistrict.com. Have fun and come home inspired.

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