Otherwise Inc: West Loop Pioneer

Otherwise Incorporated describes the essence of their work as helping companies understand critical "moments of change" in branding or rebranding. It's a beautiful way of describing an incredibly difficult process of creating and launching new brands. 

Since 1997, the duo of Nancy Lerner and David Frej have led in the creation of an incredible body of work which is consistently elegant, daring, and effective. The team's studio on Randolph Street in the West Loop is a reflection of these qualities. Elegant, with creative energy; yet you feel like work gets done. The contemporary art in the space shows impeccable taste.

Take a look at the pics, then read below on how the West Loop has evolved since Otherwise has called it home.

Nancy Lerner, founder and principal of Otherwise Incorporated, answers six questions on how the West Loop has evolved:

What was pioneering about the West Loop when you moved here?

It was 1998. Simply put, the neighborhood was still raw and real. We also knew photographers who were drawn to the cavernous buildings in the West Loop to set up studios. Some of the city’s best gallerists were also early to the neighborhood, including Rhona [Hoffman] and Donald Young. 

How does the West Loop support your passions?

The West Loop is all about art, design, creative pursuits and placemaking.

How has the West Loop evolved?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Google is a huge magnet and validator for the neighborhood, which is encouraging a frenzied pace of development and investment. The great success of Soho House has also been a tipping point in attracting masses of Chicagoans and visitors and vetting the neighborhood as the epicenter of the cultural scene.

One thing you would never change about the West Loop?

I'm rueful about wholesale gentrification. I only wish the West Loop can become a truly integrated neighborhood with a balance of sensitive adaptive reuse and new construction to maintain the funk!

What will life be like in five years in the West Loop for Otherwise?

We have always been interested in the early stages of neighborhood revitalization, and will like move on to the next edge.

Got any secret hangout spots in the 'hood?

Our rooftop. It's only three stories up, but provides great sight lines of the neighborhood and you're still close enough to the street to hear the sounds and activities of the neighborhood. 

Otherwise Incorporated works with diverse organizations to address their needs for brand building, rebranding, website design and development, social media, graphic design, advertising, and integrated marketing. Contact them to start a conversation about your strategic creative needs.

Are you a neighborhood pioneer?

We're looking to spotlight urban trailblazers in retail, food and bev, arts organizations, education, or any brick and mortar concept which sparks a positive change in your favorite Chicago neighborhood.

Contact us today if you, or someone you know, fits this description!