62 | Paper Pilgrimage : Chicago

The L&A Summer Adventures continued this past weekend with a paper pilgrimage to Chicago, birthplace of Paper Source.

But first: a little history: Ever since I started making stationery, Paper Source has been my go-to for supplies. Back in the days when every piece of personal stationery was embellished by a ribbon, brad, or border card, I went to my neighborhood Paper Source before starting an order to be inspired by their shelves. One of my fondest memories from college was the day when a Paper Source opened across the street from campus in Town and Country village (and saved me from a 30 minute drive to Santana Row). Today, my designs have been simplified, but Paper Source is still my go-to for fine decorative paper, unique gifts, and pointed tip envelopes, the smell of which is intoxicating.

So, even though the original store isn't unlike any other Paper Source (I wish there were a souvenir t-shirt), I was so excited to visit the place where it all began, and pay my respects.

In an old, three story building that looks like something out of a story book, the original Paper Source has three rooms filled with paper treats.

For anyone embarking on any personal paper project, I highly recommend making a visit to your local store, or shopping online.


But, it wasn't all about Paper Source. The journey to Chicago was not without a weekend's worth of design and paper delights:

Terminal 2 is my new favorite place in San Francisco. Can I go there even if I'm not flying? From now on, I'm going to fly Virgin just so I can enjoy Acme Bread and Cowgirl Creamery (purchased in T2), and go-go inflight WiFi on my flight.


Once we touched down in Chicago, there was plenty of Frank Gehry to delight in...


And an architectural pilgrimage to the Farnsworth house, just an hour outside the city and a pristine example of the International Modernist style by Mies van der Rohe.

Being inside the home is inspiring, as it seems to float in the landscape.


And a visit to nearby lumenhaus, a completely self-sustaining house designed and built by a team at Virginia Tech, inspired by van der Rohe's design. I call this the Prius of houses, and I was in awe of its efficiency and beauty.


I survived the heat and humidity at Pitchfork Music Festival…which was a designer's treat with its tasty use of Neutra and Memphis and hosting of a Flatstock screenprinting show.

And once the sun set, my appreciation for Toro y Moi and  Cut Copy grew after seeing them live. TV on the Radio was a sweet lullaby at the end of the long, hot day. Check out their best:

Toro y Moi  - New Beat

Cut Copy - So Haunted

TV on the Radio - Province


The trip ended with a preview of Next Door, State Farm's sub-brand, designed by my favorite designer. Intended as a financial resource center / workspace / cafe for twenty somethings, the space is San Francisco coffee shop meets Stanford D.School.  It sits in between an Urban Outfitters and Trader Joe's on Diversey. It's awesome, and if you're in Chicago, I highly encourage a visit once it opens in August. Love that blue and red.


Last but not least, no post would be complete without some L&A paper. A new addition to the L&A stationery line-up, I designed a record/camera/bicycle stationery multipack as a thank you present for our gracious host.

Whew! It was a whirlwind trip... but I wouldn't have had it any other way in the windy city.


Next Stop? Shanghai.