For this year’s list, we kept our overall ranking numbers but organized everything by category.
Design 50 2022: The Fifty People Who Shape Chicago (Introduction)
Design 50 2022: Interior Architecture & Design for Home
Design 50 2022: Exhibitors and Advocates
Design 50 2022: Fashion
Design 50 2022: Architecture and the Built Environment
Design 50 2022: Graphic Design and Branding
+ Designer of the Moment: Andre Brumfield of Gensler Chicago
Here are those who shape Chicago’s Innovation, Incubation & Acceleration.
Jon Veal, Jordan Campbell and Dr. Curry Greene
Co-Founders/Directors and Chief Operations Officer, alt Space Chicago
A collaboration between Jon Veal and Jordan Campbell, alt Space Chicago was conceived by the two artists in response to the trauma of surrounding communities and the belief that art could be used as a tool for healing. “The name suggests that there are different—alternative—ways of improving our world and ways of doing: alternative powers of structure, alternative ways of thinking, alternative ways to cultivate culture, community and connection,” according to the founders, who hope alt Space will serve as a liaison between communities and opportunities, an ambassador for the neighborhoods they serve—especially those on the South and West Sides of Chicago—and a connector bringing intentionality to every step of the process.
Tiffany Joi, Owner, Hemp Heals Body Shop
Andrea Polk, Solo Noir and Zen Soul Apothecary
Peter Gaona, Reformed School
UChicago Arts L1 Fellows
Located inside—and named after—the first “L” station built in 1892 along historic Garfield Boulevard in Washington Park, L1 is a creative business accelerator program and retail store operated and managed by Arts + Public Life, an initiative of UChicago Arts. Its mission? To spark cultural growth on the South Side of Chicago and increase opportunities for communities that have been left out of economic development. The inaugural creative business accelerator fellows are all South Side-based, Black-owned businesses: Tiffany Joi’s Hemp Heals Body Shop features luxurious bath and body products including oil drops, salves, bath salts and whipped body butter. Andrea Polk runs Solo Noir, an all-natural skincare and grooming brand for men of color, and Zen Soul Apothecary, where, alongside her daughter, she helps create balance and zen within the body and home. And Peter Gaona of Reformed School combines art, fashion and eco-friendly materials to create clothing and apparel that highlights history, social justice and pop culture.
Founder/President, Boxville Marketplace and Urban Juncture
Starting out of a single repurposed shipping container and turning into a marketplace, Boxville serves as more than a community hub for the Bronzeville neighborhood, and more a place to shop local. It has gone on to become one of the city’s fastest-growing business incubators. “We are now working to reshape the transit hubs on the 51st and 43rd Street commercial corridors in the heart of Black Chicago (Bronzeville),” says founder Bernard Loyd. “These hubs were once vibrant centers of commerce and culture. More than a century of disinvestment and neglect has left them barren and blighted. They’ve become places we traverse as quickly as possible, rather than lingering to pick up a bite, support a local enterprise or meet a friend,” he says. He foregrounds important questions: “How can we transform the look and feel of our corridors to engage neighbors of all ages and from all walks of life? How can we use the rich culture and history of our community to create a critical mass of compelling offerings that keep neighbors and guests coming back? How can we ensure local ownership and agency throughout the revitalization process?” Taking those into consideration, Loyd is looking to the future. “We’ve made great progress at 51st and the Green Line with our Boxville shipping container market, the Bronzeville Incubator, Bronzeville Community Garden and a first set of brick-and-mortar’ restaurants, and wil take a big step forward with the historic Forum complex on 43rd Street. Our goal for 2022 is to find the resources to complete our first phase of 51st Street initiatives and begin revitalization of The Forum.”
Katy Lynch and Craig Ulliott
Serial entrepreneur husband-and-wife duo Katy Lynch, formerly the CEO of Techweek, and Belly co-founder Craig Ulliott, founded Codeverse with a lofty goal: to teach a billion kids how to code. Using KidScript, a simplified version of coding that borrows core concepts of various programming languages, young audiences (ages 6-13) learn to discover, create and publish real apps and games. More importantly, the award-winning online coding platform inspires and empowers kids to bring their ideas to life while developing skills—problem solving, critical thinking, creativity—that last a lifetime.
Bill Fienup, Haven Allen, Manas Mehandru and Melissa Lederer
Co-Founder/Director of Innovation Services, Co-Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Experience Officer, mHUB
“There has been a trend to think about social and environmentally sustainable design. In its infancy, the focus was on recyclability, efficiency and the manufacturing work environment. But as we have matured, it has evolved into all aspects of the product’s life and the journey from cradle to grave. This has an enormous effect on product development, by creating a more holistic and systems-thinking approach,” says mHUB’s Haven Allen, stressing the importance of making conscious design decisions across the entire life of a product and considering aspects such as longevity, repairability, disassembly, energy, carbon use and equity. “Recently, mHUB launched two new programs: the Catalyze Fund, developed to bridge the access gap for women and people of color through a portfolio of programs to combat systemic inequity, and a Climate and Energy Tech startup accelerator. Additionally, mHUB was selected as a Build Back Better Regional Challenge and has opened applications for the Climate and Energy Tech Accelerator program,” adds Haven, who’s working toward a better future through innovation, alongside Bill Fienup, Manas Mehandru and Melissa Lederer: “We hope to contribute with sustainable design thinking and make an ecological impact that is not only felt in the Chicago region, but also through the rest of the world.”
“The way people live and work has dramatically changed,” says 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “The city is going to have to change the way they think about serving those that are coming into the city less often. What is my ‘why’ for coming into the city if I can work remotely? What experiences can I only get from being there? Can the city create a fifteen-minute mini-city environment which would add significant value allowing me to get everything I need to get done, done faster and more enjoyably?” Rethinking the future has opened up a new world for Chicago’s technology hub. “1871 is much more of an experience, than a place. It represents a sense of belonging,” says Ziegler. “My job is to continue to adapt and create the conditions for everyone to thrive. When you have people participating virtually and in real life, it is super hard to build community and ensure a seamless, consistent, impactful experience.” Up next? “We’ve shifted to a remote first technology design, with the intentional choice that you can ‘come as you are,’ that you own your choice,” she says. “As a result, we now have 1871 members participating from all over the globe.”
The Hall of Fame: Innovation, Incubation & Acceleration
*= new this year
* Jason Fried
* Howard Tullman
General Managing Partner, G2T3V and former CEO, 1871
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