This Week’s Top Story
First, there was fast fashion. Now there is fast furniture. From a factory in the south suburbs of Chicago, Cloth & Company creates made-to-order upholstered pieces that ship within nine days of ordering. It’s the brainchild of home design heavyweights Meganne Wecker, chief creative officer of Skyline Furniture, and Christiane Lemieux, founder of DwellStudio and former creative director of Wayfair, who launched the company last year.
The secret: digital printing, the same technology employed by fast-fashion powerhouses like Zara and H&M. “Our digital printer has the ability to produce 100 yards per hour,” says Wecker. That, plus precision-fitting upholstery to frames and manufacturing in the U.S., decreases the turnaround time and allows them to respond quickly to trends. “Since we are not relying on outsourced raw materials, our manufacturing ability is incredibly efficient and we are able to really push out some fashion-forward designs,” she says.
Wecker says the model makes sense for millennials, who expect near-instant delivery based on what they see on Instagram. “Social media has made this generation very educated in design, and they are showing a desire to express themselves through their spaces,” she says.
Designs are available through Target.com, One Kings Lane, and Bed Bath & Beyond, the latter of which hosted an Emerging Designer contest that Wecker and Lemieux judged and wrapped up in July. “Your home is an extension of yourself and your personality, so have fun with it,” suggests Wecker. “I always recommend starting with a piece you love—a bold pattern chair, a beautiful rug, an antique piece—and build from there.”
London-based luxury fabric and textiles brand Evitavonni is bringing a new line of fabrics to Lucid Collections (688 N. Milwaukee Ave., lucidcollections.com). Available to the trade, the line is inspired by the landscapes, characters, and sunsets captured in Sydney Pollack’s 1985 epic romantic drama Out of Africa. The designs incorporate metallic yarns, embroidery, and large-scale jacquards done in linen, silk, and velvet with a warm and earthy color palette. Check out Blixen, a muscular but no-frills pearl linen, or Hatton, overlapping abstract squares of mixed materials. No lion skins here, worry not.
Luxury home appliance brand Gaggenau recently opened a showroom at the Merchandise Mart (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, gaggenau.com). Designed by German architecture firm Einszu33, the large space channels Mies Van Der Rohe in its clean lines and natural light. Check out some serious kitchen porn in the open-plan space, where the brand’s architectural countertops are front and center.
This is your last chance to celebrate local favorite Walter E. Smithe’s 72nd anniversary, with up to 25 percent off all items (including clearance goods), through August 15. At all 11 Chicago-area locations, shop summer looks and fall trends like brass accents, matte-black accessories, and the colors of the season, which include dark green and blush.
The 11th annual Bridgeport’s Biggest Garage Sale will take place Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Mary’s of Perpetual Help (1039 W. 32nd Pl., stmaryofperpetualhelp.com). Expect more than 25 vendors peddling furniture, home décor, and other items donated to the church—many of which are priced at $1. Can’t make it until the end? At 5 p.m., items will be discounted for the final hour.
Get inspiration for your renovation with the Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour. The walk sets out on Tuesday, August 16, at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. from the Chase Tower (10 S. Dearborn St., chicagodetours.com) and discusses the philosophy behind the interior architecture of places like the Pedway and the Chicago Cultural Center, offering up-close views of the Tiffany mosaics at various locations around the Loop. Wear comfortable shoes and carve out about two hours.
From August 11 to 13, Retro on Roscoe (roscoevillage.org) will take over six blocks of Roscoe Village with artisans, antiques dealers, and of course, food, cars, and entertainment. For a $10 donation, you can browse some of the city’s most eclectic merchants’ goods, plus indulge in live music and lots of wholesome activities for the kids.
See how Jackson Park is being restored to the original intent of its renowned designer, Frederick Law Olmsted. Known as Project 120, the plan is currently in Year Three of a six-year timeline, and is slated for completion in fall 2019. On August 12 at 10 a.m., Lauren Umek, project manager for the Chicago Park District, will lead a walking tour that starts in the parking lot at the northeast corner of Hayes and Cornell streets.