Gray logo

The windy city’s mind-blowing design scene


Seattle based Gray Magazine shines a spotlight on Chicago’s tastemakers who influence its creative scene today. Nicknamed the Windy City, completely re-build in 1871 after a great fire, becoming “a model of symbiosis among architecture, design, industry, transportation, and public space". A playground for the greatest of architects, it’s aesthetic radically changed opening new possibilities. 

In 1893, exactly 22 years after the devastation of what came to be known as the Great Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition was held at Jackson Park located in the South Side district of this city on the shores of Lake Michigan. Also called the Chicago World’s Fair, it would completely change the face of the metropolis, for it led to the construction of dozens of whitewashed new buildings in the Loop business district, as well as works by the best architects and companies of the day, including McKim, Mead &White, Louis Sullivan and G.W.G. Ferris, Frederick Law Olmsted and others, all of them at the invitation of the director of the World’s Fair, Daniel H. Burham. The result was the emergence of a sparkling ‘White City’ that, ever since the moment of its inception, has continued to evolve and burnish its credentials as a hub of architectural elegance. In addition to encompassing buildings from avant-garde Chicago School of Architecture and the futuristic Millennium Park created by Frank Ghery and Anish Kapoor, the White City also accords some long-delayed recognition to the creativity of the African-American community, which has done so much to contribute to and reshape the aesthetics and culture of the city. Today’s Chicago boasts an original and authentic creative scene that owes some of its dynamism also to the many cultural events and trade fairs that take place in the city – not to mention the countless summer festivals. Gray Magazine, a Seattle-based publication, is full of insights about Chicago, the largest metropolis in the American hinterland, as revealed through the stories and histories of seven leading exponents of its creative scene.


Original text: Heidi Michell
Photo: Aimée Mazzenga
Magazine: GRAY Magazine
Publisher: GRAY Media, LLC
Read and download free digital issue 

30 July 2021