We are half way through 2019 and our 25th year as a business as well as our 10th year as residents of the beautiful northside neighborhood of Ravenswood. As we continue to evolve as a company, we have dug up some of our roots on this side of the city and found how we have been influenced by our surroundings both as designers and neighbors. We wanted to showcase our neighborhood and the other businesses thriving and starting their story. Please read below for more on Ravenswood and Beyond’s connecting roots.
The land and surrounded property passed through many owners and industries before it transformed into the restored warehouse of 2019. From vacant, chain linked lot to a lamp repair factory, the space has lived many lives. Then the property changed hands yet again a decade ago, where it’s sole purpose was housing our product development firmn. The gates have welcomed designers from around the globe and produced creativity-driven solutions for a decade and counting.
Above, the studio begins to take shape brick by brick.
Nearly 150 years before our firm opened it’s gates, the Pioneer Grocery laid claim to the 4500 block of North Ravenswood. John H. Bruns owned the small chain of grocery stores and his family of 12 lived above the Northside business. The grocery store was part of the community for over 60 years until it was demolished in 1935 and began its next phase of reinvention. Below, the warehouse begins to take shape in the mid 2000’s, from each individual brick to the gated entrance.
Located in the quiet, vibrant neighborhood of Ravenswood, our space embraces the same, rich history as it did decades ago. Ravenswood’s story began in 1868 when it was one of the first planned suburbs of the city dominated by German immigrants. As electric streetcar lines began winding through the neighborhood it solidified itself as a convenient and travel-friendly hub. The Ravenswood Elevated Line was erected in 1907 and still stands today as the Montrose Brown Line, making it easy to travel from the far North Side all the way to the southern edge of the city. Because it started as a suburb, today the streets are lined with residential homes, vintage apartment complexes, and eclectic local businesses.
Photo credit: Chicago Public library archives.
Surrounded by Culture & Class
Beyond Design is of course surrounded by other local business with a historic and dynamic past, such as Spacca Nappoli Pizzeria and O’Shaughnessy’s. With a decade of artisan pizza experience, Spacca is run by pizzaiolo Jon Goldsmith and artist, Ginny Sykes. The restaurant melds culture, dough, and passion under one roof (and patio) and brings an authentic Italian energy to the Northside.
A few steps north of us is the Irish Public House, O’Shaughnessy’s. Another establishment with a 10-year history, the Irish pub moved into the historic Pickard China Building on the southeast corner of Wilson and Ravenswood. Entangled with Chicago history, the Pickard Building was built in the late 1800s where it was home to the artists that hand painted ceramic china. Foreman Brothers Bank moved into the building in the 1920’s – their famed client was Albert “the Sausage King” Luetgert (who had a colorful reputation..), and years later the Zephyr Ice Cream Shop.
The small stretch of Ravenswood has continually changed and progressed, producing several top notch companies in varying industries. You’ll find the neighborhood to be an eclectic mix of businesses and residents and a welcoming and vibrant area to work, live, or visit.
Meet Our Neighbors
Another perk of calling Ravenswood home is that our studio is adjacent to Malt Row, the stretch of breweries serving up craft beers and cocktails in the Ravenswood Corridor. With 8 different and varying local breweries and taprooms walking distance from the office, after hour happy hours are a great. Ravenswood Green and Malt Row are also conveniently located near the Montrose Brown Line station and the Ravenswood Metra making travel to and from the venue safe and easy. Malt Row includes breweries like Dovetail, Half Acre, and Spiteful as well as whiskey distillery Koval and Michelin rated brewery and bar, Band of Bohemia. For more on Malt Row, explore the modern taverns here.