The Intersection of Art, Design and Nature with Trina Sandschafer of Kahler Slater

We recently celebrated the opening of the 6th Annual River North Design District (RNDD) Fall Gallery Walk, an event where design showrooms throughout River North come alive with art from some of the brightest artists on the scene, paired with vignettes from Chicago’s design leaders. The result? Feasts for the eye to inspire anyone who wants inspiration to make their home a beautiful haven. 

The walk is comprised of 20 locations, featuring 25 artists and 18 designer vignettes. The vignettes are on display through October 11th so we encourage you to enjoy the crisp weather and take a stroll through River North to view any displays you might have missed on opening night. We have a map available online here.

Incorporating Art into a Biophilic Design

We will continue to celebrate art and design throughout the year at RNDD, and we asked Trina Sandschafer, AIA, Vice President and Design Principal at Kahler Slater to dive a little deeper with us into the topic.

Trina and Kahler Slater’s architecture and interior design team, created an ethereal vignette at Luxury Bed Collection (440 N Wells St) featuring artwork from Katherine Lampert of Daniel Kinkade Fine Art. The biophilic-inspired space morphed The Luxury Bed Collection into a hidden garden, integrating layers of organic beauty into the built environment. Katherine Lampert’s compelling work set the tone, drawing from patterns in nature to build a bridge between art, technology and the natural world. You can view the vignette in person and allow yourself to be transported to a multi-layered sensorial sanctuary until October 11th.

Trina Sandschafer, center, with Kelli Zaremba and Lauren Imburgia of Kahler Slater.

And enjoy our Q&A with Trina Sandschafer below:

What about Katherine Lampert’s artwork resonates with you?

The pattern and organic shapes in Katherine’s work provides a feeling of connection to the natural world. Our team was energized by her stories of inspiration through ancient patterns in fossilized specimens. These natural patterns have existed for millions of years…. We are drawn to them, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.  The Kahler Slater team created the vignette to convey the restorative properties of the natural world, but the meaning behind Katherine’s artwork is abstract—it can be constructed by the viewer.

Katherine describes that her work “tells her what to do” as she is creating it. As an architect, I appreciate this connection and follow a similar process of listening to what the site and space tells you to do. Looking deeper at her work reveals many layers. There is a beautiful first impression that invites you to examine the details and appreciate it on a deeper level—which also makes for great architecture.

Uncharted by Katherine Lampert

How does biophilia influence the way you design for clients?

Biophilia is defined as the innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings. We are always thinking about how humans respond to nature and how it relates to the built environment. In our projects we infuse this philosophy thinking about our client’s views, how to incorporate natural light and indoor/outdoor connection, scale, pattern and texture to provide spaces that comfort and complement our natural connections.

Kahler Slater’s biophilic-inspired vignette at The Luxury Bed Collection | Photo by Roberto Lopez

What is one thing that you wish was more widely known about the way we think about these spaces?

There are a lot of ways to incorporate biophilia in architecture. It is not just about plants. I would encourage people take a more radical approach through use of natural light, scale and perspective. Incorporation of these elements with the right balance of pattern and texture can tap into our innate desire to restore.

How would you recommend we incorporate art into the built environment?

When we design spaces with clients, we think about how art will become seamlessly connected. Setting and scale can inform whether a sculpture, painting or other type medium will best interact with the space.

Are you doing any work with biophilia as a design influence currently?

Yes, biophilia is an underlying thread in our work at Kahler Slater. Thinking about how to connect people with nature in all our spaces is incredibly important to our design conversation.

Bradley Symphony Center by Kahler Slater | Photo by: Steve Hall © Hall + Merrick Photographers

To learn more about Kahler Slater, visit their website here.

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