Uncommon Adventures: Chicago

Nine under-the-radar happenings that'll quicken your pulse this summer, guaranteed

PART THREE:
CRAFTSMANSHIP

PART THREE: CRAFTSMANSHIP

Craftsmanship is an abstract idea that takes many concrete forms.

A timeless pair of leather boots built from the ground up right here in Chicago. Pilot watches that wed Swiss movements with a WWII-inspired American aesthetic. The kind of hard-wearing, minimalist wood furniture that belongs in every Midwestern home.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Because each of those experiences can be found within Uncommon Adventures, a new series spotlighting under-the-radar happenings around Chicago.

Remember to take a picture. It’ll last longer.

OAK STREET BOOTMAKERS

Founded in Chicago in 2009, Oak Street Bootmakers does one thing and one thing only: high-quality, American-made leather footwear. And they do it very well. The son of a master cobbler, founder George Vlagos churns out timeless, durable designs that play as nice in the wild as they do in the city. Sourcing most of their leather from Chicago’s very own Horween Leather Company doesn’t hurt. You’ll find the full collection at Independence — that ruggedly appointed menswear store in the Gold Coast — alongside other no-nonsense wardrobe essentials.

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MAKOKOMO DESIGN

From Ravenswood-based design consultancy firm Studio Murmur comes Makokomo Design, a new housewares and industrial goods company with a commitment to Midwest manufacturing. The Ursli Collection — Makokomo’s first — includes a collection of stools and tables that reflect the label’s ethos: to build minimalist, lasting goods through a close-knit community of makers, doers and designers.

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

Before you hop around town to check in on some of the city’s most talented craftsman, you’re going to want a car to match. Enter the first-ever Lexus LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” Born in a factory though it may be, the LC 500 was built with an obsessive, artisan-esque attention to detail, from the single piece of chrome trim they hand-apply to the roofline of every LC to their unrivaled pickiness with materials. To wit: only 5% of the leather on earth meets their scrupulous in-house standards for available semi-aniline leather. The result is a car you’ll be thrilled to step out of, no matter the occasion.

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ASTOR AND BANKS

Because every Chicagoan deserves a quality watch in their arsenal, and you might as well have that watch built in Chicago. Assembling its watches right in the West Loop, Astor and Banks is a modern watch company with an eye for timeless details. Its newest ticker, for instance, features a Swiss Automatic Movement and German case that pay homage to WWII-era pilot watches.

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PART TWO:
DESIGN

PART TWO:
DESIGN


Good design
is an abstract idea that takes many concrete forms.

A firm that will scour the world to find the perfect piece of art for your living room. A festival devoted to our city’s incomparable architecture.  A handsomely appointed “church” where you can throw a slumber party.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Design never looked this good.

STUDIO 6F

They say “home is where the heart is,” but without some design know-how, home is more like “a box that’s sort of comfortable if you know which part of the couch to sit on.” Enter Studio 6F, the new Chicago design company with a serious eye for beautifying interior spaces. Led by Chicagoan Gil Melott, Studio 6F offers exclusive access to the world’s most interesting art collections, as well as the creative wherewithal to execute your vision no matter space, style or budget.

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CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE BIENNIAL

Chicago’s contribution to modern architecture and design is enormous. And the city’s legacy for all things edificial will be on full display with the return of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which for 2017 has aligned itself with EXPO Chicago, making for the biggest arts event of the year. Come September, expect full-scale installations, exhibitions and civic programming that’ll challenge everything you know about architecture.

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

For a day of design-minded pursuits, you’re going to need a ride that looks the part. Enter the first-ever Lexus LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” This is no ordinary two-door sport coupe. Notice the elegant flourishes throughout: the chrome-plated moldings, the taillamps that contain 80 individual LEDs and evoke the look of a jet’s afterburners. Given the level of innovation, it’s no surprise the LC began as a concept car. But unlike the vast majority of concepts, this one has actually achieved production. And what you’re left with is a car uniquely engineered for the future of driving.

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BANGTEL CHURCH

You don’t have to be spiritual to host your next gathering at this former church, but you do have to have a thing for heavenly design. A new offering from the city’s most eclectic hospitality group, this converted church in Bucktown keeps true to its humble beginnings with modern touches in all the right places. And if you want to spend the night, you can do that, too. The three-bed, two-bath holds a maximum of 100 guests and can sleep 12.

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PART ONE:
PERFORMANCE

PART ONE:
PERFORMANCE

 

If it’s high-adrenaline outings you’re after, we’ve got ‘em. 

Performance is an abstract word that takes many concrete forms.

A legendary trainer whipping clients into the shape of their lives. A marksman expertly blasting clays out of the sky. A modern-day alchemist who can reinvent your skincare regimen using local, “food-grade” ingredients.

Spoiler alert: today, it means all those things.

Performance never looked so good.

SCRATCH GOODS

Can a man wear a face mask? It’s 2017. A man must mask. And when he does, it’s best he leaves it to the professionals. There’s no better place to refresh the old mug than Scratch Goods, Chicago’s very first “mask bar.” Offering food-grade skincare goods made from locally sourced ingredients, Scatch is your one-stop shop to make sure your moneymaker is in tip-top shape.

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GIDEON AKANDE

You could use technology to get in shape. But let’s be real: that’s no way to get results. Gideon Akande is a Chicago-based health and wellness expert that serves up sweat through personal-training sessions, corporate team-building bootcamps and high-intensity classes. This man’s workouts are tough, and can be customized to meet any and all needs. Can your AI-enabled trainer do that?

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THE LEXUS LC 500
FROM OUR PARTNER

For a day of high-performance pursuits, you’re gonna need a ride that looks the part. Enter the first-ever LC 500, which we recently christened “far and away the sexiest Lexus ever built.” Beyond the impressive résumé (5.0-liter V8, 471 horsepower, 0-60 in 4.4 seconds), the LC 500 is bringing actual, real innovation in the performance department. The 10-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission is an industry first from a luxury carmaker, the naturally aspirated engine (which few competitors offer) produces a unique, aggressive engine note, and the driver can toggle between multiple drive modes to accommodate driving conditions. One of them is called Sport S+. Without saying too much, do try to find a road suited for Sport S+. You will not regret it.

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DESTINATION KOHLER TRAPSHOOTING CLUB

There’s more to visiting Destination Kohler than its world-class spa. You’ll also have 500 acres of untamed wilderness at your disposal. Your first stop: the property’s reservation-only trapshooting course, where clay birds are no match for your hunting skills. Also available: self-guided river fishing and hiking.

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