VMSD - January 2013 - (Page 18)

designer profile PROPS + DECORATIVES “Propping today is not so promotion-driven. It’s about the brand and look, and we need to respect that.” BIG THINKER NORDSTROM Hair wasn’t the only thing that was big when Michael Killeen’s career began in the 1980s. During his first job, working for renowned Chicago designer Judy Niedermaier, Killeen created a gigantic Chinese carryout carton from two sheets of foam core. “Visual was prop-heavy in those days,” says Killeen. “There were lots of big windows and ledges to fill.” After working with Niedermaier, making an assortment of props, including oversized cast plaster urns, figures and holiday trim, Killeen moved on to J&R Collection as a commercial sculptor, creating props and architectural elements for the hospitality industry. Then, in 1996, he and co-founder David O’Neil launched OK Works in Chicago. Killeen says he borrows from his past experiences and projects to deliver custom props, decoratives and fixturing for today’s clients. He says retailers have graduated to a cleaner, more product-focused presentation aesthetic, but he still gets to think big from time to time. For a recent project for Nordstrom, Killeen designed MICHAEL KILLEEN Principal and co-founder OK Works a 12½-foot tall Cubist form (shown at left). “It’s very portable,” says Killeen, who developed two prototypes for the retailer before taking the mixed-media unit into production for Nordstrom’s 100-plus department stores. Killeen says he’s inspired by the way things are constructed and the fine details, such as the stitching on a fabric cushion or the joint on a cabinet. “That might translate into something totally unrelated, like something I’m doing for a cosmetic presentation,” he says. In fact, it’s that playful curiosity that inspires Killeen on many projects. For example, the impetus for a Bonsai Plywood Tree (above) was seeing what was possible using a vendor’s new cutting technology. “We’ll do stuff that we like and see where it leads,” he says. —Anne Dinardo 18 JANUARY 2013 | vmsd.com http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - January 2013

VMSD - January 2013
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
Props + Decoratives
OK Works’ Michael Killeen
Lighting
Mannequins + Forms
Fusion Specialties’ Stacie White
Materials + Wallcoverings
Furniture
Fixtures
Chandler Inc.’s James Voigt
Flooring
Signage + Graphics
Best of the Rest
Ad Index
Lasting Impression

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