When Karen Herold first arrived in Chicago from Amsterdam 15 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, although she soon realized her passion for design extended well beyond fashion. 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 was designing one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants, Girl & the Goat. Herold’s achievements at 555 were recognized frequently, including 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 new office facilitates collaboration with clients and peers alike. As Principal at 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. 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 teeming with an exciting portfolio of projects. Karen’s relentless passion for design has fostered longstanding relationships with high profile clients including Sterling Bay, BOKA Restaurant Group and Aspen Ski Company. 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 Herold as she continues to develop Studio K into a firm focused on authentic design, personal relationships and a relentless desire to learn and grow.