HBCH December, January, February 2009 : Page 83

BEST PUBLIC DISPLAYOF LOCAL DESIGN SMART HOME, MSI Design buff s already know about architect and San Fran-based green queen Michelle Kaufmann’s 2,500-square-foot “mkSolaire”; the working exhibit and poster home for eco- living that stands in the Museum of Science and Industry’s front yard (and ends this month). What you may not know: She also opened the prefab doors to an inspired lot of young, local, green-minded talent, led and curated by Verde Design Studio’s Michele Fitzpatrick. Super-cool tubular Bone Lamps by Materious are made from recycled PVC pipes, and master repurposing genius Ted Harris turns recycled light bulbs into kick-ass chandeliers. An organic Navajo mohair rug by Edward R. Varndell is backed with recycled coff ee bean bags; and Terry Karpowicz’s luscious ash table and black walnut desk were both crafted from wood salvaged from fallen trees. “We want our pieces to last a generation, which is far better than having something wind up in a landfi ll,” says Fitzpatrick. Beyond the eco-implications, it’s also a testament to beautiful, innovative green design you can fi nd right here at home. Now that’s smart. Museum of Science and Industry , 773.684.1414, msichicago.org. BEST PLACE TO KICK BACK SEPIA Somehow, Sepia seems like a ’70s-era rumpus room. And in this case, that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s the overscaled lighting fi xtures (the chandelier within a chandelier), or the weird pattern in the seemingly worn linoleum fl oor. Perhaps it’s the lounge’s low- slung seating and the tall stools and high-backed BEST DESIGN INSTALLATION CASTE CASTE SYSTEMS: Cutting-edge- creative installations rotate. Since Caste opened its doors a year and a half ago, this already beloved furniture and design gallery has continually outdone its interior with new, seasonal design installations that make the Macy’s holiday windows look like child’s play. Last winter, co-owner Ty Best built a wooden cabin (yes, inspired by the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski’s Montana cabin) inside the store with details to die for (pun intended?), including a little shuttered window, beautiful chair and spindly Christmas tree. And of course, there was the massive, gravity-defying stalactite growing out of the ceiling and the insect-versus-machine installation, starring a giant mosquito mural and wooden bee sculpture made from reclaimed materials. T is holiday, though, it was all about wax-covered candle tables, carved wooden skulls and eerily brilliant wooden and plaster marionettes, referencing the childlike essence of the holidays with a very adult phenotype. 521 N. Halsted St., 312.432.0717. WINTER 2009 < 83 HIGH-DESIGN: The upside-down nestlike fixture at Sepia. banquettes in the dining room, all set off against a muted earthy palette. Or maybe it’s just the fact that folks seemto have somuch fun here. Designed by Gary Lee Partners, Sepia looks sharp without appearing determinedly chic. Inserted into the shell of an 1890s print shop, its thoughtfully understated décor strikes just the right balance between white tablecloth formality and laid-back conviviality. 123 N. Jeff erson St., 312.441.1920. CASTE PHOTOS BY GREG GILLIS; SEPIA PHOTO BY ANTHONY TAHLIER

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