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The Elements of design

Photos by Dan Bishop

May 2014

Interior designer Patricia Algiers runs her business, Chemistry in Place, our of her Shorewood home.

Patricia Algiers has been written up in the New York Times, ICON and Contract magazines, among numerous other publications. She has unique qualifications in that she is an ASID interior designer, commercial real estate broker and accredited by the Congress for New Urbanism. Her influential design firm, Chemistry in Place, is housed in a 1920s classically styled red brick home in a Shorewood residential neighborhood.

M: Why is urban design important to your practice?

PA: "Location, location, location" is the "it." If a client is located in the right place so much else just falls into place. For this reason I call my business Chemistry in Place.

M: Your office situation is also different ó essentially your office space and living space are in the same building. How did that happen?

PA: I wanted to model my work environment after what Iíve seen in Boston, New York and San Francisco. I had to rethink the space ó how am I going to make this work for me, the team and the clients? I bought a building and converted it to condos. Then I remodeled half of the building to be both work and living space. The kitchen became the resource/work room and contains all the food amenities of a corporate office; the former dining room became the conference room. The upstairs workspace has all the office technology and enough space for a team of six.

M: Would you recommend this to others?

PA: This model is used with increasing frequency as people spin off from larger firms and set up on their own. And the team likes it because they donít have to contend with parking.

M: Youíre very involved with community: co-chair of Plein Air Shorewood, board member of the Shorewood BID, among other organizations.

PA: I love community service. It was instilled in me early, watching both parents make significant differences in their community. My father is a retired internist and has always said that asking the right questions and listening to every word are the keys to getting the right answers. Iíve tried to do that my entire career.

M: Youíve said your current project is always your best project. Whatís on your plate?

PA: Weíre working on law offices as well as offices in the ever-expanding technology cluster in downtown Milwaukee and the Third Ward. As we design offices we make them appropriate to time and place ó we have to crystal-ball it to make sure the space is not locked into time. That crystal-ball stuff is the magic ingredient. The quest is always to deliver a solution that is timeless.



This story ran in the May 2014 issue of: