Spotlight: Unison

Unison is a Chicago-based company that designs and sells modern home fashions, specializing in textiles and soft goods distinguished by bold color, unique pattern, and timeless quality. It is run by Alicia Rosauer and Robert Segal.

What does it mean to stand in Unison? What does it mean to plant our flag here, where modern meets timeless, where original joins with versatile, where quality and transparency move forward in lockstep? This is our intersection, the space where our team sits rooted in modern perspective. Here, we’re collaborating on behalf of bold color and unique pattern. We’re inviting artists, designers, manufacturers, and shoppers to embrace clean, simple living. We’re redefining value as a fusion of superior product and sustainable production—a celebration of the human hands behind every item in our homes. We’re standing, in Unison, for beauty, integrity, and the uncompromising pursuit of great design.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Primarily we produce simple and modern home furnishings with a textiles focus. We sell our products through our website and our store in Chicago, and through our catalog. We work together to develop our collection, and we collaborate with local designers and artists to make printed bedding, throw pillows and table linens. We oversee all marketing, product development and selection, plus we manage a team of 11 employees.

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why? Most visited realistically:

basecamp.com – we use this website across our company for project management, communication and calendar sharing.

instagram – it’s the visual exchange of the world. We love to engage with our followers and check in on all of the people and products we love the most.

unisonhome.com – Alicia is acting ecommerce manager as well. We are looking for ways to improve our website in 2015.

Favorites: thedesignfiles.netartsy.netbetterlivingthroughdesign.com

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How has living in Chicago affected your work? It’s allowed for several collaborations with local artists and designers because of the tight design community. We believe our city has the most sincere and prolific artists and designers out there, no need to look too far!

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? It’s all over coming from so many areas. Materials we work with like cotton, cork, metal, ceramics, marble are all inspiring. The movement right now in art towards modern and super graphics. The push for handmade and high quality, where products are made and how they are made. From a design standpoint we are always influenced by Scandinavian design.

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What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? An collaboration with local artist Alex Chitty. Our production manager Kim Morski was asked to select an artist she thought could be a good fit. Kim is ‘curating’ this event with Alex, it will be a window installation using some of the domestic housewares we sell that Alex has re-worked.

If you were a drink what drink would you be?
Robert – Pimm’s Cup. Appealing with secret ingredients.
Alicia – Hot Toddy. A remedy and comfort.

How did your interest in your work begin? We both worked at Marimekko as junior designers after graduating college with degrees in Photography and Textiles. We loved the company and their products. But we also had our own style and ideas which we wanted to offer back in the US. We learned so much about the importance of sincere design and the industry of design.

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Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? Too many to name!

How long have you lived in Chicago and what brought you there? We now live in the suburbs the last three years. We moved from downtown in order to have a ‘place of our own’ with nature around us, and mainly to be closer to our families. We also have two children and wanted them to have a closeness to family, and to nature.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? A feeling that our products offer honest design. We think good design can be very pure without being cold. Adding colors or patterns bring vibrancy to your space, and sometimes something very plain and simple brings and element of ease and happiness to a home too. Of course the most fun you can have is ‘designing’ your space — whether it’s bedding, art or cookware. We want people to feel inspired that they can do that easily with the products we offer.

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What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be? Lula Cafe — it’s always a comfort to be there, knowing the food will be amazing, the service impeccable and the art inspiring.

What are you really excited about right now? Working with artist Chad Kouri.

Most embarrassing moment? We were trying to get close enough to meet Massimo and Lela Vignelli at a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award event. They took one look at us and turned away — we were so not worthy!

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What were you like in high school? Robert – black jeans, Doc Martens, Marimekko striped shirts, spending too much at cafes with friends.
Alicia – Ripped jeans, Doc Martens, old sweaters, also spending too much time with friends at cafes.

Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work?
Best: Thank you for offering. I love the products at Unison. It’s hard to find affordable, modern, attractive home accessories.
Worst: Remove me from your mailing list.

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