Chicago has been called the most American of American big cities. The design work coming out of Chicagoland, in the same vein, is also perhaps the most American. Today, the collaboration between designers and manufacturers in the Chicago area make for a stronger local – and ultimately national – economy and community, a drive with ties to the Good Design movement following the Second World War.
Chicago has a long history of manufacturing, led largely by it’s central location within the US. Despite obvious challenges, employment in manufacturing is currently growing, accounting for 9.5% of all Chicago-area jobs. Those producing fabricated metal products hold 16% of these jobs – 1.52 x the number of similar positions nationwide – while manufacturing which includes furniture and wood products takes another 13% of the pie. By utilizing the knowledge and long-learned expertise of local manufacturers, Chicagoland designers are able to realize new solutions for their ideas and ensure high quality in their final product. With a focus on truth to material, exploration of high technology outputs, and the creation of work that will be passed down through generations, Chicagoland designers are keeping it local while adding to an American design tradition.