CHSO March 2013 : Page 124

Home Schooled Design-obsessed? Us too! Check out the people, places and products that are dominating the local scene this spring. | Portraits by Neil Burger & Anthony Tahlier | THe deSigner Space Invader One of the busiest and most sought-after designers out of Chicago right now? Mia Rao (miaraodesign.com), who, in the past year, along with her second in command Robyn Swanson, has worked on projects ranging from a Victorian house in Hyde Park to a San Diego loft. Her signature? Modern with a touch of sass. “My creative designs can enrich people’s lives,” says Rao. “This is a result of pulling a space together fluidly, bringing out the inhabitant’s personality and making it relatable to who they are. Sometimes people are afraid of color. But color brings vibrancy, energy and life to a space.” An enthused globe-trekker, Rao draws inspiration from the cultural aesthetics of her travels: From the arches of Istanbul to the Gates of Paradise in Florence, Rao’s design language has an organic sensibility infused with modernity. Her latest projects? An East-meets-West suburban remodel in Naperville, a luxury condo in Lincoln Park and a midcentury apartment in Lakeview. “I like to get the vision, [set] the goals and see it through to completion,” she explains. “That is the most inspiring aspect of what we do.” –Chiara Milioulis Girl power Designer Mia rao in a client’s mod Streeterville condo 124 | | March 2013

Home Schooled

Design-obsessed? Us too! Check out the people, places and products that are dominating the local scene this spring.

The Designer

Space Invader

One of the busiest and most sought-after designers out of Chicago right now? Mia Rao (miaraodesign.com), who, in the past year, along with her second in command Robyn Swanson, has worked on projects ranging from a Victorian house in Hyde Park to a San Diego loft. Her signature? Modern with a touch of sass. “My creative designs can enrich people’s lives,” says Rao. “This is a result of pulling a space together fluidly, bringing out the inhabitant’s personality and making it relatable to who they are. Sometimes people are afraid of color. But color brings vibrancy, energy and life to a space.” An enthused globe-trekker, Rao draws inspiration from the cultural aesthetics of her travels: From the arches of Istanbul to the Gates of Paradise in Florence, Rao’s design language has an organic sensibility infused with modernity. Her latest projects? An East-meets- West suburban remodel in Naperville, a luxury condo in Lincoln Park and a midcentury apartment in Lakeview. “I like to get the vision, [set] the goals and see it through to completion,” she explains. “That is the most inspiring aspect of what we do.” –Chiara Milioulis

The Hue

Green Seen!

Get ready to enjoy the green stuff this year. After pantone pronounced emerald its “color of the year,” the home market came up sparkling. The season’s top crop includes smaller items like Baccarat’s Véga martini glass ($185 at baccarat. Com) and rablabs’ aleotto napkin rings ($68 for a set of two at rablabs. Com), made from hand-polished Brazilian agate. But for our money, it’s hard to beat the portugal-based Boca do Lobo’s limited edition Diamond Emerald sideboard (starts at $33,120 at bocadolobo. Com), a multifaceted and high-functioning piece of art that will dazzle in any dining room. –Alexandria Abramian-Mott

The Innovator

Handy Man

One man’s trash is another man’s… light fixture? At least it is if you have a creative eye like Chicago native Ted Harris (tedharrislamps. Com). Harris turned his hobby of making lamps out of what most people would consider worthless items he finds in places like thrift stores, garage sales and even Dumpsters into original works of art. “It was as a child that I learned the value of found, discarded and cast-off ‘stuff .’ Free stuff was great fodder for my creativity,” says Harris. With this resourcefulness, Harris has been able to create unique works of art like a spaceship lamp made from a 1950s percolating coff ee maker (and equipped with rocket engines and a lighted nose cone) and a ray gun. Originally an illustrator, Harris now works full time making these extraordinary lamps (available at Scout and Beverly Hammel, starting at $195) and has expanded to anything for the home, ranging from accessories like vases and tables to wall and floor decorations to antique finishes on furniture. “I accept any challenge given to me,” adds Harris. –Aleksandra Bush

The Product

To Have And To Hold

Local product designer Defne Koz does biz with the most respected companies in the world, but her River North office is where all the magic happens. Most recently, the Chicago-based talent teamed up with Gaia&Gino and Swarovski to produce the CUT collection of mouth-blown, silvered glass vases embellished with glinting crystals. No flowers necessary—this powerful vessel demands enough attention on its own. From $1,042, at wabnitzeditions. Com –Diana Bitting

The City Buzz

Wine oh!

First it was the NoMI at Park Hyatt’s impressive wine room. Then it was Italian eatery Filini (filinichicago. Com) in the Aqua Tower—the first dining destination within its undulating walls, whose industrial-inspired wine racks display varietals in all their vino vessel glory. The trend continued with the bottle wall installation at Trenchermen and Del Frisco’s three-story homage to oenophilia. The latest arrival? The Boarding House’s new custom emerald-hued ceiling art installation made from more than 3,000 empty wine bottles. Bottoms up! –DB

The InternaTional Inspiratio

French Connection

French crystal company Lalique is expanding into furnishings this season, with designs by Monaco-based interior designer Lady Tina Green. The South Africanborn businesswoman and wife of British retail kingpin Sir Philip Green (of Topshop fame) worked with designer Pietro Mingarelli to create a collection of art deco-inspired furniture. Each Lalique Maison piece—from lamps, cashmere throws and cushions embroidered in glass beads to cabinets, sideboards and crystal-embellished mirrors— is produced by hand by the best glassmakers in France, individually numbered and certified by the company. At the Lalique Interiors Showroom, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 312.867.1787, lalique.com –DB

Luxe Living

Sea Breeze

Oscar de la Renta’s latest home collection is all about harking back to the designer’s Dominican roots, and in the process, he’s tapped into the runway’s current obsession with blue and white. More than 70 pieces, created in collaboration with über-decorator Miles Redd, embody the relaxed elegance of island style, done in a palette of sky and sea tones. Look for a lot of beachbeckoning tableware, accessories and even tray tables that perfectly capture a laid-back take on the good life. At Bloomingdale’s Home Store, 600 N. Wabash Ave., 312. 324.7500, bloomingdales.com –AAM

The Architect

If He Builds It...

Considering his prolific career in residential, commercial and institutional design, it isn’t too surprising that Chip von Weise (vonweiseassociates. Com), starchitect and principal of von Weise Associates, snagged one of the most coveted jobs of 2012—the GE Monogram Design Center at the Merchandise Mart. Von Weise, who last year won the American Institute of Architects Illinois’ Mies van der Rohe Award, beat out several local firms to design the 3,500-square-foot LuxeHome renovation and redesign. “That was pretty intense,” says von Weise of winning the contract. “But ultimately, we were the only ones who could bridge the gap between residential and commercial design.” The tricked-out showroom, which opens May 1, will feature a full-time cook and several working kitchens capable of streaming live cooking demos to foodies and design enthusiasts around the world. –Brian Dukerschein

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/Home+Schooled/1327665/148375/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here