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Best in Design 2012

The competition is fierce. Here, with help from your votes, CS Interiors’ inaugural Best in Design Awards sizes up Chicago’s design scene and recognizes the bright talents shaping its ultra-chic façade.

Best Bedroom: Project Interiors
When Aimee Wertepny started Project Interiors in 2005, it seems she had one rule: break all the rules. Her designs continue to drop our jaws, mixing design periods, materials and cultures. Kelly Wearstler for Bergdorf Goodman accessories with bold Afghan textiles? Sure! African head pieces with classic Bradley Hughes furnishings? Of course! Of her winning Hinsdale bedroom, Wertepny was thinking, “Texture! There’s an ethereal aesthetic with touches of natural linen, shearling fur, silk, felt and metal tones. And the quartz crystal vase and Moroccan wedding blanket add some sparkle and glitz.” Having composed the clean LG Development offices, the opulent Tzar nightclub and a Prairie-style setup in a historic Wright house, if there’s one thing Project Interiors can’t do, that’s play by the rules—and we can’t wait to see which ones they break next.

Nightlife: Nellcôte
In the former Marché West Loop space, Nellcôte restaurant and lounge combines aspects of the existing meat-packing area with inspiration from the villa on the French Riviera where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on Main Street circa 1972 (and from which Old Town Social’s more chichi counterpart also got its name). “We intertwined some of that industrial-warehouse edge into our décor to address how rock star grit meets Parisian glamour,” says designer Chris Dexter. Wrought iron and crystal chandeliers, tufted leather banquettes and the decorative crown molding motifs up the Euro-chic ante.

Best Office: Schopf & Weiss
Located on the 28th floor of the Helmut Jahn-designed 1 South Wacker Drive skyscraper, Schopf & Weiss just may be the trendiest law firm in Chicago. Relocating from their former loft-style offices, the clients wanted to maintain the open plan in their new, modern building. The talented design team at architecture and interior design firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz utilized cutting-edge planning processes to meet both employee and client needs. “We needed to incorporate that loft feel for the new space, so we kept the ceilings exposed and used a lot of glass and raw materials,” says designer Sheyla Conforte. The sleek black-and-white scheme is offset with pops of apple green—a pretty atypical office environment for the buttoned-up litigation industry.

Reader’s Choice: Anthony Cristiano Salon
Located in the Trump Tower, the salon’s views of the river create a “man-made cave feel—a space that is comfortable and relaxing,” explains Principal Designer Dwayne MacEwen of DMAC Architecture. Cristiano was involved in the design, choosing the muted colors, opulent terrazzo flooring and handmade custom furniture from Italy.

What to see more of Chicago's design standouts? Read the entire "Best in Design" feature in the Fall 2012 issue of CS Interiors or click here to view the digital edition.