Authentic, high-drama, and unexpected, Chicago’s PROjECT Interiors founder, Aimee Wertepny, is leading the charge for her high-end take on grit and glam design. In this special Chicago edition of our Designer Spotlight series, we sat down and had a one-on-one conversation with Aimee to learn what inspires her and how to achieve her signature look.

Photo Credit: Green Cherry Photography

Q. Architecture is very prevalent in Chicago, how does the architecture influence your interior design choices for commercial projects? 

I’m incredibly lucky to have a company that is headquartered in a world class city like Chicago, known for its incredible skyline and architecture- steel and glass is a no-brainer here! I’m inspired every day just leaving my apartment, which is in the historic neighborhood of Wicker Park. There are art deco period buildings, greystone walk-ups, turn of the century churches, as well as public art works, graffiti installations and classic A-frames, punctuated with recently developed modern style dwellings. I pull that influence into my interior schemes- grit with glam, modern, edgy and rustic all melded into one scheme. I appreciate classic details for sure, but the mid century modern architecture that Chicago is known for is my personal favorite- those Mies Van Der Rohe buildings are timeless, and I’d like to think my work is as well. Modern architecture is all about clean lines, beauty in simplicity and an unfussy lifestyle, which is a part of my design ethos. “Interior revival” is what I call it- as it states on the back of my business card in a scribble I can barely read 🙂

Photo Credit: Tony Soluri

Q. Natural stone has long been a part of art and design in Chicago. What is it about natural stone that captivates you? What type of stones do you and your clients in Chicago gravitate towards? 

Nothing compares to the impact a quality natural stone has on a space. It immediately exudes a sense of calm, because, as a natural product, it reflects the beauty of nature. I think Calacatta marble is timeless, and I use it all the time for hard surface specifications- especially in the leather finish. I’ve been especially drawn to the bold and textured slabs recently, such as Panda and Pietra Grey– I can’t get enough of that elephant skin looking slab!

Photo Credit: Cynthia Lynn Kim

Q. All of your designs are incredibly personal with a refined and modern aesthetic that is true to the client’s personality and desires. What are some of the unique design directions that we will be seeing in your future 2017 Chicago projects as they are completed?

I’m really digging street art, dream catchers and macramé these days. Bold color and patterns- but only the “weird” stuff. Tribal and deconstructed influences will still run steady through our work- and architecturally there will be blackened steel, brass reveals, black lacquer, stone and porcelain slabs, matte black and rose gold hardware, angular facets and tunnels, portal entries- we love a portal.  There’s a drastic mix of transitional suburban to glass box and steel structures that make us want to take more risks in materials and details in all of the above. We’re always searching for the unexpected which certainly pairs nicely with the client who is willing to go there- which we are seeing more and more. *heel clicks*

I love to travel, and this year is all about Latin- Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, which is destined to influence my work and train of thought- I’ve even enrolled in Spanish lessons! So maybe some bright colors (um, did I say that?) with splashes of mezcal + rum for sure. Vamonos!

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AIMEE WERTEPNY

Matchmaker to gutsy and glamorous,
a chic co-consipirator with smoldering
curiosity and an earth driven heartbeat,
she’s a Chicago girl that prefers not to
waste time on the dress rehearsal.

PROjECT founder Aimee Wertepny
established the studio nearly 10 years ago— all indie rock, now-or-never sweat and stamina—after realizing the solo gig wasn’t for her.

On her watch, PROjECT is an organic-glam-mashup a curated, layered, collected trip. Luxury cut with a little grit, surfaces that purr— her seductive rip-shred aesthetic atones for the laconic sins of beige and invites an intriguing totem.

Travel and charity fill her spirit, but as the all for one ethos of the studio, she’s the irrepressible 90s girl who takes the side entrance instead of waiting in line.

VIEW MORE:
Designer Sportlight: Lucinda Loya Interiors
Designer Spotlight: Marie Flanigan Interiors
Architectural Digest Show 2017: Natural Stone for Every Room