This is the ninth edition of Newcity’s Design 50, and of the previous eight, three names have dominated the top spot on the list: architects Jeanne Gang and Helmut Jahn, and fashion designer Virgil Abloh have each held the number-one spot twice.
Needless to say, the untimely deaths of Abloh and Jahn in 2021 were devastating blows to the design community in Chicago but also around the globe, because both transcended their adopted hometown long ago.
Though neither are with us physically any more, they both live on in Chicago in different ways. After his death, two projects dear to Jahn came back to life with the news that his masterpiece Thompson Center would be saved, and that the construction on his final Chicago project, the apartment high-rise on South Michigan Avenue, 1000M, would resume after an existential financial setback during the pandemic.
Beyond his boundless creative artistry for his own brand, Off-White, or for the menswear line of Louis Vuitton that he oversaw, Abloh not only crushed barriers between streetwear and haute couture, but his very success opened up the profession in an unprecedentedly inclusive manner. That legacy transcends fashion, and can be seen throughout the design world, and is manifest in the makeup of this year’s Design 50, whether in fashion, architecture or innovation.
It is because of this that we mourn the loss of Virgil Abloh and Helmut Jahn but celebrate their legacy, which will continue to inspire and fuel generations of Chicago designers to come.
Look for Newcity’s March 2022 print edition at over 300 Chicago-area locations this week or subscribe to the print edition at Newcityshop.com.
IN THIS ISSUE
The psych ward during COVID
The Art of Organizing
The story behind the historic union at The Art Institute and SAIC
Fifteen Chicago photographs in ten hours
Designer of the Moment
Andre Brumfield reimagines the city
Who shapes Chicago in 2022
And so much more…