Maker Beat: Lincoln Square’s Maker-Bakers

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By Michael Workman

I’ve often found it a shame that the popular intellectual dialogue in Chicago so often centers around “Foodie-ism.” Even so, even I have to admit that Foodie-ism does have its ultra-rare, well-thought-through moments.

imageA few weeks ago, the sun hanging low in the early morning sky, some sweet smells were emanating from the Baker Miller storefront, wafting over the swarm of people in office clothes hurrying along the sidewalks, all pantsuits and consumerist busy-ness flooding the El station on Western Avenue. Baker Miller is housed in a refurbished flower shop, owned by husband-and-wife duo Dave and Megan Miller. In the morning, it is buzzing with patrons catching their morning coffee and pastry before heading down to the Loop for their daily bread. And they’re getting the good stuff here.

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Dressed for the Fest: Experts Help Curate Your Outfit for the Summer Music Festival Season

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Illustration: Josh Crow

Brandon Frein/Illustration: Josh Crow

By Isa Giallorenzo

As the music festival summer season goes into full swing, we spoke with four fashion specialists to help you with one of the most challenging wardrobe conundrums of all: the music festival outfit.

Brandon Frein, wardrobe stylist and professor of Fashion at Columbia College

When it comes to dressing for festivals—or any outside summer activity, for that matter—two things are key: comfort and functionality. Music festivals are typically hot and crowded, so the main thing I keep in mind is staying cool. A dress is usually my go-to, something loose that doesn’t hug my body and something in a lightweight and breathable fabric. I want as little on my body as I can get away with! If not a dress, I will opt for either a jumpsuit or a light and flowing maxi-skirt paired with a crop top, bikini top (well, maybe not at my age, but I used to), or tank.

Shoes and accessories are important things to keep in mind, too. My bag of choice for any kind of street or music fest has always been a good stylish fanny pack—and they are totally in right now! A fanny pack is secure and also attached to your body, so you won’t lose it when you’ve had one too many beers. As for shoes, while a pair of Birkenstocks or cute flat sandals may seem like a good idea, you’ll think better of that decision when you stumble over gravel, end up in mud, or when someone steps—or jumps!—on your toes. My shoe of choice is typically a good, sturdy ankle boot of some sort. Sturdy, stable, and comfy. Hot maybe, but whatever you put on your feet, they’re gonna get nasty!

Headwear is another thing to consider. Hats are great, but they can become burdensome when you are out and about all day in a crowded place. Hats may fly off your head (I really like a good straw one with a neck tie), and they become a giant pain in the ass if you feel the need to take them off. What are you gonna do with it? I prefer the idea of a head scarf—a bandana is awesome. Use it as headwear, wipe yourself down with it when the sweat starts to roll, and stuff it on your bag or tie it around your wrist or bag when you’re tired of it. Easy! Oh, and remember to bring SPF wipes, so practical!

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Chicago Looks: Statement Sisters

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Anabel ( and Genevieve Kane (@Estro.Gen) were hanging out at this year’s Pitchfork Festival.

How would you describe your outfit? What do you love most about it?
Anabel: My outfit was partially inspired by “American Horror Story: Coven,” crossbred with everything Jeremy Scott has to offer. My favorite line ever created was the Fall 2014 Moschino line. My belt is what I love the most—I have gotten so much use out of it. Surprisingly, red and yellow go with tons of things. It was really difficult finding an outfit for Pitchfork because I’m generally not a huge fan of summer clothing, but I’m trying to train myself to like it more.
Genevieve: I think my outfit is very toddler chic. I’m hopelessly stuck in the nineties—they were the best three years of my life. I love my Tommy Pickles bag that I made. I have a massive assortment of Rugrats memorabilia around my house, so I took a Tommy puppet and converted it into a purse.

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To be a designer is to adhere to a precarious kind of label that never quite fits the nature of the work. The trend of “Designer as…” qualifiers tries to broaden the variety of other disciplines that contemporary design sidles up next to and gets comfortable with: “Designer as author.” “Designer as activist.” “Designer as academic.” “Designer as writer.”

“Designer as artist” has always seemed paradoxical, but Chicago has nurtured it for decades. The latest show at LVL3 Gallery, “CHGO DSGN: WHEREVER,” a group show presented with CHGO DSGN, is the latest check on the city’s century-old lineage of a design-as-art pedigree that began with the “commercial artists” found in the back rooms of turn-of-the-century print shops. Once typographers, binders, illustrators and photographers began to identify more with an emerging, proto-creative class than the proletariat, design stepped out from behind the closed doors of commercial production and into the realm of personal expression. And Chicago has been at the center of the map since.


Ania Jaworska | Proposal for a Pavilion (To be placed among tall buildings), 2014

The assembly of neon, collage, sculpture, print, video, app and installation works from Chicago (and former Chicago) designers Yuna Baek, Adi Goodrich, James T. Green, Emily Haasch, Andy Hall, Clay Hickson, Cody Hudson, Ania Jaworska, Quinn Keaveney, Chad Kouri, Jason Pickleman, John Pobojewski, Alexa Viscius and Bryce Wilner is reminiscent of the velocity and variety of objects from last summer’s CHGO DSGN megashow, albeit with the chatter here having more of a focus on connectivity, rather than influence.


The show presents Chicago as a hotbed of designers who also happen to make art. It is a confident display of designers-as-artists in a community of creators; a community whose members  may have international sights but still always find the “here” in the “wherever” they happen to be working. (Jessica Barrett Sattell)

Through August 16 at LVL3 Gallery, 1542 North Milwaukee, Third Floor.

No Signs of the Times: Argyle to Become Chicago’s First “Shared Street”

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A rendering of Argyle as a shared street/Courtesy CDOT.

A rendering of Argyle as a shared street/Courtesy site design group, ltd..

By Aaron Rose

Ready. Set. Slow down.

Chicago is about to get its first—official—shared street. By this time next year, Argyle Street, in the 48th Ward on the city’s North Side, will be a streetscape that relies on human interaction to negotiate the flow of pedestrians, bikes and vehicles, rather than relying on standard traffic signs and signals.

In this experiment, Chicago joins cities around the world—in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, as well as other American cities—in enhancing a thoroughfare that draws foot traffic, like Kensington High Street in London, Bell Street in Seattle and Pittsburgh’s Market Square, into a pedestrian- and bike-friendly destination. Construction on the project, five years in the planning, began in early July.

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Young Design Superstar: Fariha Wajid Makes the Right Connections

Architecture, Uncategorized 1 Comment »
Fariha Wajid and Stanley Tigerman

Fariha Wajid and Stanley Tigerman

By Krisann K. Rehbein

In May, Fariha Wajid, a Chicago Public Schools alumna, graduated from the College of Architecture at IIT. Fariha is a reminder that there are still great job training and mentoring opportunities in Chicago for the next generation of design professionals.

When Fariha and her classmates started at architecture school, there was little reason to be hopeful. The real estate market crash of 2007-08 had hollowed out the profession. Week after week, a stream of architects left their offices with boxes in hand, laid off when the work dried up due to the recession.

Back then, it seemed crazy to tell a bright young person to enter the field. The situation was dire and those of us in the design community were forced to collectively question the value of an architectural education.

Thank goodness that young people, blind in their love for design, overlooked the dim employment outlook and continued to jump headlong into architecture school. And now, recession seemingly in the past, firms are hiring again and looking for new talent. When many architecture students graduated this spring, my Facebook feed was full of success stories.

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Designing City: AIGA’s Centennial “This Is Chicago” Book Offers An Eclectic Snapshot

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downloadBy Jessica Barrett Sattell

New York is bound to advertising and finance. Los Angeles to entertainment. San Francisco to tech. Chicago doesn’t settle on a single industry, but it is, and always has been, industrious.

Design in Chicago follows this credo. Designers here go beyond graphics. They move fluidly between disciplines, fostering camaraderie and rivalry, collaboration and discussion. They roll up their sleeves and get things done, and they want the rest of the world to know it.

“One of the things I realized early on is that Chicago is a quintessentially American city. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is,” writes Zoë Ryan, chair and curator of Architecture and Design at The Art Institute of Chicago, in “This Is Chicago,” a new book published by the city’s AIGA chapter on the occasion of the professional association’s centennial year. (The organization was founded in 1914 as The American Institute of Graphic Arts.)

That candor is a common theme throughout the book’s fifteen long-form interviews with twenty-two different designers, educators, curators and artists—from recent graduates to local luminaries—on topics ranging across visual, installation, product, brand, print and digital work.

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Chicago Looks: Urban Camo

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IMG_9878Promoter and dancer Smaranda Gildea (@bout2blaze, aka the Turn Up Queen) was zooming through the 606. She was wearing a green flower arrangement on her head.

Do you always incorporate skatewear into your wardrobe?
I’ve always had an attraction to skate shoes but my style has evolved out of the classic skater look. The branding and logos were too loud. I skate more as a means of transportation and I won’t compromise anything regarding my style even if I’m skating. You can catch me riding in a fur coat when it’s cold out.

How do you adapt your style to evening events?
It depends on the destination, how I’m feeling, how much I plan to be dancing and who I’m going to see. I love rocking six-plus-inch heels, so the expiration of their comfort is definitely one of the things I take into consideration. If I know the music is going to be really good, I’ll opt for platforms or wedges, so that I can make it through the night. I also have an aversion against black. The whole concept of an “LBD” bothers me because it’s so safe and plain. I prefer to wear yellow. Read the rest of this entry »

Maker Beat: A Printmaking Center Finds a (Re)New(ed) Home

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Renovating the new Chicago Printmaker's Collaborative space at 4912 North Western

Renovating the new Chicago Printmakers Collaborative space at 4912 North Western

By Michael Workman

The history of handmade prints spans from community quilts to Warhol’s silkscreen “machine” paintings to today’s grasp after literary graphic arts. The landmark Chicago Printmakers Collaborative is a part of this grand printmaking narrative.

For years, the organization has been housed in a building under the Western Avenue Brown Line stop, and for the last several of those years, partially blocked off with scaffolding for seemingly no purpose. Finally, the group moves to a new, permanent home at the end of this summer. We recently sat down with director Deborah Maris Lader to get the scoop. Read the rest of this entry »

Maker Beat: Kid Bits

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By Michael Workman
Sweet summer rainstorms! My neighborhood of Lincoln Square recently got a very unique new business in the strip mall on Lawrence Avenue. Next door to the LA Tan salon and its massive Day-Glo pink sign sits a sprawling maker facility called Bit Space.

Bit Space is done up like a boutique hotel with all the blonde wood you can shake a sawn leftover piece of two-by-four at. Conceived as a daycare summer camp for kids, it is organized around principles of instruction in the use of current and past technologies intended to teach, as well as entertain, children in the art of making.
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