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Remembering Stanley

Thirst was saddened to hear that Chicago’s famed architect and provocateur Stanley Tigerman passed away at age 88.

We had the tremendous privilege of working with Stanley and Margaret McCurry, his partner in both business and life, on an online archive of their shared portfolio and a recognition video for his AIA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

Stanley offered us so much more than we offered him. His countless stories always entertained us. His challenge to stay "restless" always inspired us. His infamously sharp tongue always challenged us. We are grateful to have shared his gift of time and creative energy. Chicago will simply never be the same.

Photo shown is a portrait of Stanley Tigerman by renown Chicago artist Roger Brown, taken by Rick Valicenti during his last visit with Stanley.

Reviews are in... Macbeth was a hit!

Macbeth and Thirst’s John Pobojewski were recently featured in reviews by both the Chicago Tribune and See Chicago Dance for Chicago Repertory Ballet’s production. Both reviews were positive, calling the ballet "infused with heart, curiosity and fearless ambition" and "freakin’ great"! See Chicago Dance’s Joanna Furnans described Thirst’s digital projections as providing "the essential macabre tension in the work..." and "excellent... effectively relentless." Check out more in the reviews!

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Macbeth featured in Communication Arts

Thirst’s John Pobojewski and our digital projections for the Chicago Repertory Ballet’s Macbeth were featured in Communication Arts. The ballet was recently on stage last weekend at Chicago’s Athenaeum Theatre in Lakeview. Check out the article to learn a little bit more about the thinking behind the piece!

Hall of Famer

For the first time ever, Newcity's Design 50 list includes a Hall of Fame — "the cornerstones of the Chicago design scene who’ve already made this list year in and year out, and without whom it could not stand." We are excited to announce that our Rick Valicenti is honored and with good company.

Love Conquers All

Cupid does it again, and so did Anna and Rick / Thirst, with designing Jessica Lagrange Interiors’ annual valentine.

Blind debossed and engraved on Strathmore Impress by Artistry Engraving & Embossing

Macbeth returns to the Athenaeum Theatre March 29

Chicago Repertory Ballet's original production of Macbeth returns to Chicago at the Athenaeum Theatre beginning March 29th! Thirst's John Pobojewski will be adapting the digital projections from the 2016 production for a new stage and a new era. See our work that the Chicago Tribune called "especially potent".

The Athenaeum Theatre

March 29 & 30 at 7:30pm | March 31 at 2:00pm
Get Tickets

Two Chicago restaurants branded by Thirst win the Jean Blanchet Awards!

The Pizzeria Bebu Team at the 2019 Jean Blanchet Awards
Jeff, Rachel, and Zach from Pizzeria Bebu at the Jean Blanchet Awards. Photo by Pizzeria Bebu.

Congratulations to Pizzeria Bebu and Temporis for both winning 2019 Jean Blanchet Awards. Bebu was awarded as the best neighborhood restaurant, and Temporis received an award for best service.

Visit them both and check out our case studies for the graphic identity of Pizzeria Bebu and Temporis.

Pizzeria Bebu Logo
Pizzeria Bebu Logo
Temporis Logo
Temporis Logo

Bud Rodecker receives Prometheans Award

Congratulations to Bud Rodecker for being recognized by his alma mater for his achievements in design. Each year the School of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth honors accomplished alumni and friends with the Society of Prometheans award.

In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humankind to promote innovation and creativity. The Society of Prometheans award honors alumni and friends who have demonstrated the passion, commitment, and talent to achieve excellence in their art and profession, and benefactors who have enabled the School of Fine Arts to achieve new levels of excellence in programs

Satoru Nihei: 3st Artist in Residence 2018

We are pleased to announce Satoru Nihei as our 2018 Artist in Residence. 

Through the 3st Artist in Residence (AiR) program, we create four quarterly projects in collaboration with an emerging Chicago artist/designer. We place great value in the works of the artists in our community who delight our imaginations and open our minds. During the year we indulge ourselves with the creative stretch that these collaborations bring to our studio.

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Spoke in Transit

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When was Columbus Modern?

The word “modern,” according to Webster’s means “of, related to, or characteristic of the present or immediate past.” And yet the modern architecture and design for which Columbus, Indiana is justly famous, was inaugurated by Eliel Saarinen at the First Christian Church in 1942! (Visitors will know the building from its gridded façade and 166 foot, geometric tower.) Other modern buildings in Columbus include the glass-framed Irwin Union Bank (now Irwin Conference Center) by Eero Saarinen (64 years old), and the red brick and concrete Cleo Roger Memorial Library by I.M. Pei (49 years old). The designer Paul Rand’s iconic, dancing C’s logo for the Columbus Visitor’s Center from 1974 just turned 44! 

Are these buildings and designs still modern, or should they be called old, or middle-aged? 

Modern architecture began in Europe during the first decades of the 20th Century. It was called modern because it served new needs, was up-to-date in engineering, and didn’t resemble anything that came before. This was intended to be a style-less architecture that responded only to purpose or need. Some of the key names associated with it are the Swiss Le Corbusier and the Germans Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe. The latter’s famous catchphrase “less is more” (actually first used by Mies’ teacher, Peter Behrens) summarizes the belief of the modernists that the best architect is the one who designs least, and who permits function to dictate form.

In the United States, modern architecture and design wasn’t fully embraced until after the second world war, when a new, national confidence permitted a broad jettisoning of historical forms and traditions. From 1945 to 1973, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of about 4% per year, and economic gains were spread across all income levels, but especially to the lower and middle classes. During that generation, modern architecture in America came of age. Here is how one designer in 1946, who specialized in single-family homes, defined the new approach to building: “The plan…should be determined by need; the plan should [also] determine the exterior…which in turn should express the plan for all to see; aesthetic effects should be obtained by direct, efficient, and economical use of modern, technologically advanced, construction methods and materials. Order, fitness and simplicity should govern all phases of the work. (J. R. Davidson, Arts and Architecture, July 1946).

In practice, this litany meant that buildings – especially office buildings but also many homes – would be made of glass, steel and aluminum, materials newly available in great abundance due to the ramp-up of industrial capacity during World War II. In addition, it ensured that the structure of the building, including its gridded core of steel members, and its plan, would be visible from the outside through curtains of glass. That’s especially apparent in the Irwin Union Bank Building by Saarinen. And in the domain of graphic design, modern principles required restraint and concision, while still maintaining animation and eye appeal. Paul Rand’s design for the Columbus Visitors Center consisted of nothing but the letter C, in many colors, sizes and rotations. It was modern because it’s efficient, simple and direct. Once seen however, it is unforgettable, even though you can’t ever quite fix those dancing C’s in your mind! That why Thirst recently decided to make it the basis for lots of other Columbus area design, including street signs, transport infrastructure, architectural markers, flags, logos and other branding.

So, if Columbus started to become modern in the 1940s with the First Christian Church, remained modern in the 1950s and 1960s with Eero Saarinen’s Bank and Pei’s Library, and received a modern boost with Rand’s dancing C’s in the 70s; and if the city is still being modern today with Thirst’s reuse and reimagining of Rand’s original logo, what does modern even mean? Can you be both traditional and modern, old and new at the same time? 

The answer is yes, provided that the values that underlie the first modern buildings and designs – openness, directness, and fitness to purpose – continue to be embraced and even expanded in the present. Openness for example, means more than simply exposing the plan of the building. It means being cosmopolitan, democratic, and welcoming to all. Directness means revealing the purpose of a building or a design without any subterfuge, so that it can be judged by the community as a whole. Fitness to purpose doesn’t mean ruthless efficiency. It means meeting the needs of users and not wasting limited resources (human and natural) on superfluities that are of benefit only to a few. If the people of Columbus, and its future architects and designers embrace those values, they will pay homage to the great modern architecture of their past -- and they will still themselves be modern.

Written by Stephen Wiseman, Professor of Art History at Northwestern and co-founder of the environmental non-profit, Anthropocene Alliance.

Download this essay as a PDF

Thirst is one of Newcity’s Design50


Thirst's Bud Rodecker, Rick Valicenti, and John Pobojewski (L to R) are honored to be part of Newcity’s Design50 — Chicago's annual survey of design leaders who shape our city. We are thrilled to share this year's list with all fifty luminaries, especially our collaborators Jeanne Gang, Iker Gil, Matthew Hoffman, Tim Parsons & Jessica Charlesworth, John Ronan, Alberto Vélez, and Tanner Woodford.

Photo by Nathan Keay

Columbus Branding featured on CityLab

We're happy to have our work for the Columbus community branding featured on CityLab.

Through original reporting, sharp analysis, and visual storytelling, CityLab informs and inspires the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there.

Read the full article here.


In honor of Jessica Lagrange Interiors' 20th anniversary, Rick Valicenti and Anna Mort designed their annual valentine with twenty years of love in mind.



Debossed and foil stamped on Reich Savoy by Artistry Engraving & Embossing.

Group Therapy at CAP UCLA

Congratulations to Poor Dog Group (PDG), for premiering Group Therapy at CAP UCLA! Group Therapy draws on 16 hours of recordings from the group’s therapy with a licensed professional to probe the inner workings of long-term collaboration. 

We were proud to work with PDG in designing the performance program and poster. View our work here.


Learn more about Group Therapy on Poor Dog Group's website. 

Buy tickets to the performance through CAP UCLA.

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