#AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast – Show Notes from Episode 23 with designer Michael Newman of estudiotres and Michael John Newman | Design + Build

This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by, Michael Newman, the Chicago-based principal and creative director of estudiotres, a branding, design, development and marketing firm that he runs nationally with two other designers. Michael, who goes by newman, has recently been dubbed an “Andersonville Craftsman” by the Chicago Eater for his recent work on Brightwok Kitchen in River North via his own firm, Michael John Newman | Design + Build. He has also worked on projects throughout Andersonville and Chicago, including the redesign of our 2018-19 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide.


newman recording in Studio C at Transistor.

“It’s already a beautiful neighborhood. It already has beautiful people. We just have to get out of the way and tell their story.”
– newman


Listen to Episode 23 with Michael Newman!

Here are some references from Episode 23 that you may want to check out:

  • newman is from a small town in Florida and majored in sculpture, but after graduation, jumped into the design field where more jobs were available. Upon moving up to Chicago, he worked for a design house called Modge Design for three or four years before breaking out on his own.
  • newman’s partner in estudiotres, principal John Hopefl lives in Prescott, Arizona and runs the second studio there. newman and Hopefl went to school together in St. Augustine, and started the company together knowing they may live in different locations.
  • estudiotres redesigned the Andersonville Chamber branding in 2013. Ironically, the iconic water tower design was launched just before the old water tower had to be taken down in 2014 due to water damage! The new fiberglass water tower was reinstalled on August 8, 2017.
  • estudiotres has also designed the logos and branding for Andersonville Wine and Spirits (5201 N Clark), Jin Ju (5203 N Clark), and more!
  • newman was one of the creative forces behind the re-design of the 2018-19 Andersonville Neighborhood Guide. Newman references a quote from architect Henry van de Velde to better explain the approach to this year’s guide – learn more about van de Velde here.

“There was already a narrative; it was just my job to make that narrative linear to tell as story.”
– newman on designing the new 2018-19 Neighborhood Guide


Pick up a free copy of the Guide at the Andersonville Chamber offices (5217 N Clark) or at area businesses.

  • newman loves living in the neighborhood and seeing the weekly prep that goes into the weekend business. He specifically calls out Scout (5221 N Clark), Lady Gregory’s (5260 N Clark), Cowboys and Astronauts (1478 W Summerdale), and Passerotto (5420 N Clark).
  • newman recently started his own design firm, Michael John Newman | Design + Build. He hooked up with a friend named Seth Hanno to work on rebranding a restaurant, Cemitas Puebla, which was featured on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. The owner very much wanted to showcase Puebla, Mexico. newman was hands on with building and designing art installations, building furniture, and instructing contractors.

newman working on an art installation at Cemitas Puebla.

  • Through this work, newman was hooked up with Brightwok Kitchen, which was recently written up for their new location in River North in Chicago Eater. View the article here.
  • There are two types of furniture that newman designs: functional couches and vanity lights, and installation furniture at the restaurants. For example, Brightwok’s wall installation features over 20,000 chopsticks to create 4ft tall letters! He also designed their built-in bench seating with “The Future is Bright” made out of individual wooden spheres. Check it out on his website here, and view one of the photos below!

newman’s installation at Brightwok.

  • If given the chance, newman would like to trade places for the day with Great Lakes Clinical Trials (5149 N Ashland). He’s love to go back to school for his doctorate in Evolutionary Biology and the trials going on right now are fascinating and super important.

“If we’re going to do something, we better do it on purpose.”

Visit newman on the following platforms:
Online: estudiotres.com  | michaeljohnnewman.com
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelJohnNewmanDesignandBuild
Instagram: @michaeljohnnewman