I went to a swell cocktail party recently at Lumen to celebrate the first of three finalists Nate Berkus chose in the Basil Hayden’s Tastemakers Design Chicago competition. The event was a joint presentation of Chicago Home + Garden and Out magazines, and Basil Hayden’s bourbon. The gal of the evening was Sarah Tranum (pictured above with her entry), a Chicago design grad student who has envisioned a curvilinear lounge chair that evokes the BH packaging (that’s the criteria for the contest—design whatever you want, but use Basil Hayden’s as the inspiration). The other two finalists will be feted at events coming up at Stone Lotus (RSVP here) and Angels and Kings, before Berkus puts the prototypes up for a vox populi judging on Oct. 16 at Crimson Lounge, over at the Hotel Sax. The bad weather didn’t stop the stylin’ crowd from coming out for fun Basil Hayden’s cocktails and passed pupus. I chatted with Project Runway alum Steven Rosengard, Oscar Tatosian from Oscar Isberian Rugs , Anthony Almaguer and Steven Burgert from I.D., and my neighbor Bryan Lump, who designed a table that earned him one of the other two finalist slots. His wife is hoping he wins, so they can spend the $10K prize on fixing up their basement. 

Photography by Frank Failing