Industrial designer Steven Haulenbeek is something of an evangelist for Chicago’s community of like-minded makers. He keeps busy with a design studio (ODLCO, or Object Design League Company) and a festival he founded (Fulton Market’s Guerrilla Truck Show), at which artisans sell their work out of U-Haul trucks. Here’s what he’s excited about right now.

Favorite restaurant?
“Big Star has it all figured out. It’s a small space with a short menu, but everything is delicious. The tacos al pastor, with pork shoulder and pineapple, are my favorite; Gumballhead beer from Three Floyds Brewing Company is on draft; and if you really want to go for it, order the drink deal called Los Tres Reyes. It includes a shot of tequila, a chaser of sangrita (spicy, tomatoey juice), and a can of Tecate.”

Coolest local building?
“Marina City, aka ‘the corn cobs (above).’ It has an ability to look dated and current at the same time. Architect Bertrand Goldberg had a style all his own—a cross between brutalism and The Jetsons.”

What’s next?
“The Fulton Market area is growing into a design destination, and ODLCO is opening a storefront on Randolph Street this fall. It feels good to be a designer in Chicago right now.” 

See more Chicago picks from the September, 2012 issue. Photo by O Palsson/