‘Monument for Them’ (2012)

Monument for Them (2012)

“It’s a commentary on the human condition,” says Ania Jaworska of her wood sculpture. “It desperately seeks attention, but it’s kind of also kneeling, so it’s a humble and welcoming sign.”

Photo: Courtesy of artist

When asked to define Chicago’s design community, Rick Valicenti cites a mix of craft and craftiness: “There’s a spirit of innovation—putting a new twist to a function, whether it’s a business card or catalog or chair.”

It’s this creative spirit that the Lake View designer aims to capture with CHGO DSGN, an exhibit he curated that spotlights more than 100 artists and opens on May 31 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

If the show sounds vast, that’s because it is: The five-month retrospective features more than 200 works, including the world’s thinnest wristwatch, bowls forged in polar vortex ice, and an eight-foot-tall sculpture by architect Ania Jaworska.

“The public [should] see Chicago not just as the city of architecture,” says Valicenti, “but as the city of design.”