Nikolas Lund and I worked with members of the Chicago cultural community to develop a proposal to purchase 955 W. Grand Avenue in order to convert the historic home of the Chicago Commons into an art and social club. This occurred prior to SoHo House arriving in Chicago and before the widespread acceptance of such spaces as integral to social and cultural landscape. Together, we created preliminary plans, worked with building inspectors, architects, consultants, and preservation specialists, developed a business plan, recruited team members, managed fundraising, and managed the communications and marketing strategy.
Our goal was to create an environment that integrates the production and consumption of art. The space will be a single destination for a variety of experiences, including art shows, music performances, film debuts, dance performances, and avant-garde media works. This space will be a house serving people interested in art, design, entertainment, and social networking. The house will include production studios, flexible rooms for presenting work, and lounges for socializing and experiencing art in new ways. Its club-like atmosphere will be open to members and non-members as an alternative to coffee houses, night clubs, and existing social clubs. It will be an inviting urban oasis for relaxing in close proximity to the production of new work.
The House will offer an unprecedented experience to consumers by integrating the various media in which works are made. The House will give space and bring audiences to emerging and established artists via a supportive facility and via integrated marketing. It will be capable of producing the most innovative individual and collaborative work available. Its directors will present the work of artists via a platform offering various individual and integrated channels.
We worked for roughly 18 months designing the space and raising capital to buy and renovate the space. Ultimately, we decided to rethink the concept as a virtual model in order to scale the service more broadly and deliver a stronger return on investment. This shift formed the groundwork for Sense Culture.