Chicago’s Best-Kept Furniture Secrets Are Here


Chicago Furniture McKenzie Veal

The Insider: Taylor McKenzie-Veal

McKenzie & Keim

Rising Chicago furniture-and-object maker Taylor McKenzie-Veal knew from a young age he wanted design to be part of his future. He earned a bachelor’s in fine arts from the University of Michigan and followed it with a master’s in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Since then, he’s started a studio practice that accepts commissions and licenses products for manufacturing and has gathered plenty of accolades for his work, like being one of 11 chosen for ICFF‘s 2016 Studio class. Next up is a newly launched lighting design studio, McKenzie & Keim, which he says creates “refined ceiling and wall-mounted luminaries using strictly LED technology.” With two businesses operating in the Chicago design scene, it’s a given that McKenzie-Veal knows his way around the city.

Here, his tips on where to go and whom to watch.

Favorite neighborhood: West Town. It has solid contemporary galleries, vintage shops and street fairs, and is home to an abundance of Chicago’s designers.

Best places to shop: To me, the canon of great design is midcentury Scandinavian and American design, so I get my fix at places like Circa Modern and Dial M for Modern. I also recommend going to the Wright auction house to view the lots in advance, when you can get up close and personal to take in the details. It’s better than a museum.

Recent memorable project: I had the opportunity to work with Claire Warner and Sam Vinz of Volume Gallery on the new Ace Hotel in Chicago’s West Loop. They have great relationships with an impressive roster of American design talent.

Who is someone to watch? Jonathan Nesci designs stark minimalist pieces with immaculate craft. I haven’t met him, but it’s inspiring to see him leverage the capabilities of Indiana industrial metal fabricators to create considered objects for the interior.

Photo: Nick Greenen