Early Childhood Center
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
construction and installation by Redbox Workshop, Chicago
The Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston is a platinum-level L.E.E.D.S. building which is home to a wonderful early childhood center. The challenge was to create a design which could stand up to all the brightly colored chaos of the large motor room and still feel calm and welcoming.
The design is loosely based on a Jerusalem skyline. I incorporated a variety of antique architectural elements to bring a historic resonance into this new, modern building. I added dried botanical pieces to give us some organic colors and textures to look at during the long, grey Chicago winters. Glass-tile mosaic sun, moon and stars (which surround the entire room) add reflective sparkle. Interactive elements include magnetic/wipe-off boards, a chalk board, cubbies, benches and shelves, drawable curtains, mirrors, working doors which open to reveal an ark or a puppet stage, and a scrolling map of the world.
see the detail images
Historic Pipe Organ Restoration
First Baptist Congregational Church, Chicago, IL
Here is a newsletter excerpt about the restoration from Arthur D. Griffin Jr., senior organist at FBCC:
The 2011 Winter Storm Damage, allowed us to take on an ambitious project. We removed & cleaned all 5,466 pipes, completely rebuilt the two organ chambers in the rear balcony, and restored the organ façade to its former glory. Our insurance claim funded most of the restoration, with the support of the chairman of the Trustee Board Bro. Thomas Marks, and Pastor Daniels, we were able to secure $200,000.00 for this project.
While the pipes of the façade were taken to be cleaned, we discovered a much earlier stencil pattern etched on each of the façade pipes, looking at previous historical records we believe this pattern to be the original 1871 design. Rebecca Hamlin, and her three member team were commissioned to replicate the stencils and painstakingly re-painted, the design on all 47 pipes ranging in length from 22ft down to 8 ft. A team of 10 men (including 4 of our Y-Focus Men) on Tuesday, August 21st carried pipes weighing 200lbs to 10lbs from the gymnasium, outside the church and back on the northeast stairwell to their final resting place.
During the Organ Re-Dedication Voluntary “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, was played in which the two back organs were heard, for the first time in over 50 years. Thanks to the Grace of God , Rebecca Hamlin, Walter Bradford and Jason Michalec Organ Technicians, and the generous support of our congregation, a proper restoration of the Great Kimball Organ Opus 6949, is no longer a “pipe dream” but a reality!
see the detail images
creative director/executive producer: Bill Bartalotta
fabricaton by Redbox Workshop, Chicago, IL
These animals were created for a temporary working carousel. They are made to be sat on and ridden slowly around, so guests can get on and off easily, carry on conversations, and so on. They are made on a steel and wood frame inside carved styrofoam and painted to resemble bronze. If you look close you will recognize some of the applied elements.
Basement social hall
Shaare Tikvah/Bnai Zion, Chicago
River North Cafe
The late great River North Cafe was a gourmet coffee and sandwhich shop in a busy art gallery neighborhood in Chicago. We wanted the exterior sign to reflect the outgoing personality of the owner. It included a wipe-off board where he could write his daily specials, and, of course, dancing coffee cups.
photos by John Morrison
These 5 Purim Characters were made for a bat mitzvah luncheon that happened to fall on Purim! They now get pulled out every year for use at the synagogue Purim Carnival.
Basement social hall
Shaare Tikvah/Bnai Zion
The client needed to dress up a drab basement for a bar mitzvah luncheon. I designed 4 four ten-by-ten banners using hand-painted and metallic translucent fabrics. I wanted to create the effect of stained glass windows to open up the room and make it seem less like a basement space, to add architectural interest, and to add that luminous color. After the bar mitzvah, the synagogue used the banners for other celebrations, sometimes on the wall, and they were also beautiful draped over tables.