Working out of the dining room of their Lincoln Park row house, surrounded by UPS packages and recycled plywood, Lisa and Ron Elkins are the very image of idealistic young architects determined to leave their aesthetic mark on the world—without the carbon footprint. After working for architecture firms in San Francisco, London, and Chicago, they just launched 2 Point Perspective (2120 N. Bissell St., 773-529-7541; 2pointperspective.net), a LEED-accredited architecture and furniture design firm.
While their fledgling company’s achievements have so far been limited to designing a vegan restaurant (The Balanced Kitchen) on the North Side and two multilevel condo remodels in Ravenswood and the West Loop, their distinct minimalist style, warmed up by deft use of renewable wood and natural stone, is evidence of great things to come. In addition to building with strictly sustainable materials and working only with eco-minded vendors, the Elkinses regularly buy carbon credits to offset business operations (and personal ones, like flying).
It doesn’t get more modular than 2 Point’s AdapTables, eight bamboo nesting tables that allow for endless configurations. Bonus points: They’re green.
“It’s easy to make something out of bamboo, which is cool right now anyway, but you have to take it to the next level to make the world a better place,” says Lisa, who, along with her husband, also designs and builds furniture. One of her designs, a two-tiered bamboo, steel, and glass coffee table with a pivoting function that allows it to fan out, stands in their living room; a rectangular bamboo modular shelving-and-desk system that, unassembled, resembles a bunch of nesting tables, was recently picked up by Healthy Green Goods in Evanston.
What they dig: Modern ceiling fans • Houseplants to improve air quality • Going “beyond bamboo” by finding products that use eco-manufacturing as well as eco-materials • Green roofs What they don’t: Careless use of “exotic” materials • Disposable furniture … disposable anything for that matter • Heated garages
Photograph: katrina wittkamp