Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer founded Design With Company in Chicago in 2010. RECORD asked the designers five questions about their work as they prepare to participate in the upcoming Chicago Architecture Biennial. Scroll through the slideshow above to see some of their key projects.

Architectural Record: Tell us about your practice. What differentiates you from other firms?

Our work explores the intersection between literature and architecture through exhibitions, speculative urban scenarios, and temporary pavilions. Stories sometime serve as the context for a project or as a means to engage people in unexpected ways through built form. We like humor and use it carefully as a layer of meaning within the constellation of associations that buildings provoke.

How do you get into a creative headspace?

We brainstorm a lot and value lateral thinking. We make lists of words and ideas related to a project and try to make oblique connections between unlike things. We play word games and ask “what if?” as a means to conjure unlikely scenarios and arrive at solutions that would not present themselves through more logical processes.

Who are your design heroes? 

Jean-Jacques Lequeu; John Hejduk; Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates; and Charles Moore.

What do you hope to contribute to the Chicago Biennial?

We are studying the steel frame of early Chicago skyscrapers for their geometric complexities.

Most importantly, when it comes to pizza, deep dish or thin crust? 

Both—either way you’re eating pizza.


The Chicago Architecture Biennial runs from September 19, 2017, to January 7, 2018. Read more of our coverage of the event here.