When Karen Herold first arrived in Chicago from Amsterdam 20 years ago, she had no idea that she would fall in love with the city and make it her home. Karen had just graduated with a degree in fashion design, but soon realized her passion for design extended well beyond her concentration.
Karen began working at 555 International where she quickly evolved its
retail-focused interiors work into the popular hospitality design department it is recognized for today. During her 13 years at 555, Herold’s designs attracted an impressive client list, including Hugh Hefner, Michael Morton, and Steve Wynn. Perhaps her most widely publicized accomplishment during that time was
designing one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, Girl & the Goat. Karen’s achievements at 555 were recognized frequently, and included the receipt of the Jean Banchet Award for Best Restaurant Design and Time Out Chicago’s Delta Burke Award for Best Designing Woman.
Looking to expand her design versatility, Karen started her own multidisciplinary creative house, Studio K, in early 2014. Located in Chicago’s West Loop, her office facilitates collaboration with clients and peers alike. As Principal of
Studio K, Karen’s role has evolved to form exciting partnerships with her clients, enabling her to impart direction on all aspects of the creative process. While she embraces design with understatement, each space divulges an element of
humor – a reflection of Karen’s ability to never take herself too seriously. Taking this successful approach, Studio K has delivered many of Chicago’s most
popular restaurants, bars and luxury multifamily residences. These projects
include Maple & Ash, Monteverde, BLVD, GT Prime, Bellemore and The Aurelien. Herold’s creations are both timeless and eclectic; never trend-driven. She travels often and believes that inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places and experiences. It is important to Karen that the spaces she designs not only conceptualize her clients’ vision, but that they create an energy and experience that people want to return to time and again.
A look towards the future shows Studio K teaming with an exciting portfolio of projects and some highly anticipated openings such as Chicago’s first Nobu
hotel and restaurant (2019), a new global restaurant concept design for
McDonalds (2018), and Krispy Kreme: Store of the Future (2018). Karen’s relentless passion for design has fostered long standing relationships with some of Chicago’s biggest powerhouses including BOKA Restaurant Group, Sterling Bay, The Chicago Cubs, Magellan Development, and Core Spaces. Supported by a loyal following of clients and collaborators, Karen is recognized as an invaluable resource for her ability to solve operational challenges while creating unique spaces that intrigue the end customer and invite them to return. The future is bright for Karen as she continues to develop Studio K into a firm focused on authentic design, personal relationships and a relentless desire to learn and grow.