For the 25 years she’s been in business, Michigan architect and interior designer Angie Lane has always felt that the Midwest never gets the respect it deserves. Despite the region’s history of soaring skyscrapers and famed buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen, Mies van der Rohe, and Albert Kahn, among so many others, she says the Midwest is perennially underrated and underrepresented in the design world.
Lane knew she needed a vehicle to explain to the world that Midwest style isn’t Little House on the Prairie: It’s modern, it’s hip, it’s practical but innovative, it’s driven by the changing seasons, and it’s like nowhere else.
The designer contacted a number of like-minded stylemakers throughout the region — in Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Detroit — and they agreed to contribute to her soon-to-be-released book, “Midwest Modern Manifesto.”
In bold color, featuring dramatic Midwest scenes that are overlayed with lively textures and patterns, the 332-page coffee table book’s images are evocative of the flora, fauna, and other touchstones of Midwest life, joyously and energetically presented by Lane.
“It’s a love letter to the Midwest through design,” says the University of Michigan grad and Tecumseh-based architect/designer. “It’s a formula for achieving designer style, illustrated through several renowned designers around the Midwest. The entire aesthetic of the book is inspired by old propaganda posters, so that every page is an eye-catching mix of photography, graphics, and illustrations.”
After two or three years of planning her book, Lane found a publisher, McNaughton & Gunn, in nearby Saline, and got to work. The book took her about a year to produce. “It was a real learning curve,” says Lane, who was familiar with graphic design but not the technical part. The book is broken into nine chapters, including designer samples, resources, and even a chapter for Happy Hour, with colorful cocktail recipes.
Her main idea for the book was to “define what makes an interior good, and to nail down what those things were,” she says. Lane came up with a four-factor formula anyone can use to pull together effortless style: Incorporate a hard pattern, a soft pattern, bright color, and nostalgia/eclectic elements. Each factor is detailed in its own chapter.
As she explains in the book, Lane’s formula isn’t formulaic: “There are ‘friction’ components of any design formula … texture is the big one that comes to mind … it’s always there and always affects the actual outcome,” she writes.
Lane looks at her intensely illustrated book as a tool for any design studio, or for anyone who wants to liven up their interiors: “When people come into my design office, they love to touch my samples. My book is meant to be super inspiring, showing juxtapositions with patterns, textures, and colors.”
The architect is big on colors — a breath of fresh air in this long stretch of nonstop neutrals in home interiors — and some of her favorites are blues like periwinkle and greens like chartreuse.
This is her first book, and thanks to the pandemic, this married mother of a 13-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter, and a gray cat named Olaf (who loves to curl up on her keyboard) had the time to do it — truly a silver lining. “The stars aligned in terms of timing,” she says.
Lane plans a book signing in conjunction with the May release of the book. The book will be available to purchase at midwestmodernmanifesto.com. Contact Angie Lane at alanearchitecturepllc.com for more information.