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When the founders of 1871—an innovative new nonprofit that provides a place for tech entrepreneurs to meet, work, and grow—went looking for an architecture firm to design its offices on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, they picked Gensler. The man tapped to lead the project: Gensler principal Carlos Martinez, 53. The choice couldn’t have been more spot-on. After all, Martinez describes good design as “informed, purposeful, and compelling”—adjectives that could just as easily describe a successful startup.
Martinez’s discerning eye is evident not just in his work but in the things he chooses to wear and to live with in the prewar Gold Coast apartment he shares with his partner, Michael Tirrell, a communications strategist. See below for twenty things that get his stamp of approval.
20 Things Carlos Martinez Loves
HIGH-TOP SNEAKERS BY LANVIN ($995 for similar style, Barneys New York, 15 E. Oak St.)
“No one does high-tops better.”
VINTAGE SWISS ARMY BLANKETS ($298 each, sundancecatalog.com)
“Each has unique markings: letters and numbers with a hand-drawn quality.”
SARPANEVA CAST-IRON CASSEROLE BY IITTALA ($295, I.D. Chicago, 3337 N. Halsted St.)
“This a great example of that perfect balance between user-centered design and beauty.”
SINTESI LAMP BY ERNESTO GISMONDI FOR ARTEMIDE
“In 1979 I saw my first Sintesi lamp in Milan. I don’t know what possessed me to buy it—I had limited cash—but I love that I did.”
JIL SANDER TIES ($110 each, Jil Sander, 48 E. Oak St.)
“I try to get at least one tie from each of the collections Raf Simon designs for Jil Sander. With his recent departure to Christian Dior, I want to buy a last special tie.”
Photography: (casserole) courtesy of vendor; (all others) Anna Knott