Eric and André met in the fall of 2016 through a mutual friend that realized they had similar interests. Both André and Eric were designers, artist, and educators.  During the next couple of months they would support each other in their individual projects. It wasn’t until they shared with each other their dreams of owning a space where young people could come and create that they decided they should combine efforts and work together.

Eric Hotchkiss

Eric Hotchkiss is a Product Designer, Engineer and Educator. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign and a Masters of Designed Object from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Eric has worked on many areas of design; from Medical Devices and Consumer Electronics, to Fashion and Home Furnishings. This cross pollination among fields provides a unique perspective within the competitive arena of Design. Eric believes that design has the ability to be discursive, as well as function and beautiful. He is currently sharing this outlook with others, teaching product design and 3D modeling at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

André Westhelle

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Product Design, André has worked in many areas of the creative field ranging from art director, to graphic designer, freelance artist, photographer, art teacher and chef. This diverse skill set allows him to design and create objects that expose the user to an artistic experience. He enjoys the entire artistic process of planning and designing, to creating and bringing to life what was once on paper. He especially enjoys woodworking, creating functional art from reclaimed wood. While pursuing this passion, André also enjoys educating young minds at the Piccolo School of Excellence on the city’s west side.