A downtown area can be storefronts and sidewalks, or it can be a mecca that attracts business owners, residents, and visitors from near and far. Its success depends on placemaking.

Communities can have "good bones," but if their special attributes aren't marketed and combined with resources in a productive way, the community sadly cannot grow to its highest potential. We believe that every community has the potential for greatness.

At Chemistry in Place, we examine communities and develop solid plans to combine existing resources with fresh thinking and ideas, bringing new life and energy to residents and visitors.

Placemaking...creating brighter communities through creativity, innovation, and future-minded thinking. .


     Design Clues for Signage

      What is placemaking?

  • Placemaking is taking an area and putting it on the map.
  • Placemaking is assessing the wants and needs of the people while considering the unique geographical features, history, and culture of an area.
  • Placemaking is creating authentic places that attract and retain residents, workers, and visitors to live, work, and play in a given area… be that interior or exterior spaces.
  • Placemaking is embracing the spirit of an area, and using solid design, urban planning, and out of the box thinking to lift spaces and places to their highest potential.


Placemaking in spaces
We love the way well-done boutique hotels understand the art and science of placemaking. Everytime we travel to see clients we make it a point to visit the local boutique hotels. Here are some boutique hotels we have visited. Some were magnificent experiences, some not as much. We'd love to hear about your boutique hotel experiences - share with us by emailing us at design@chemistryinplace.net or post on our Facebook page.

Ironworks, Beloit

Ironworks Hotel
Beloit, WI

Hotel Lombardy, Washington D.C.

Hotel Lombardy
Washington, D.C.

International House, New Orleans

International House
New Olreans, LA

Yotel Hotel, Manhattan

Yotel Hotel
Manhattan, NY


Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn

Wythe Hotel
Brooklyn, NY

King & Grove, Brooklyn

King & Grove Hotel
Brooklyn, NY


Hotel RL, Washington D.C.

Hotel RL
Washington, D.C

The Iron Horse, Milwaukee

The Iron Horse
Milwaukee, WI


The Kimpton Journeyman, Milwaukee

The Kimpton Journeyman
Milwaukee, WI

Hotel Metro, Milwaukee

Hotel Metro
Milwaukee, WI


Art Hotel, Denver

Art Hotel
Denver, CO

The Curtis Hotel, Denver

The Curtis
Denver, CO


Warwick Hotel, Denver

Warwick Hotel
Denver, CO

NATIV Hotel, Denver

Denver, CO


The Brown Palace Hotel, Denver

The Brown Palace Hotel
Denver, CO

The Oxford Hotel, Denver

The Oxford Hotel
Denver, CO


Magnolia Hotel, Denver

Magnolia Hotel
Denver, CO

Hotel Teatro, Denver

Hotel Teatro
Denver, CO


The Crawford Hotel, Denver

Crawford Hotel
Denver, CO

Hotel Monaco, Denver

Hotel Monaco
Denver, CO


Renaissance Minneapolis, Minneapolis

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel
Minneapolis, MN

The Meridian, Indianapolis

The Meridien
Indianapolis, IN


The Pearl Hotel, San Diego, CA

The Pearl Hotel
San Diego, CA

Hotel Amarano

Hotel Amarano
Burbank, CA


Hotel Indigo, Fort Myers, FL

Hotel Indigo
Fort Myers, FL

Ace Hotel

Ace Hotel
Seattle, WA


Hotel Lucia, Portland, OR

Hotel Lucia
Portland, OR

Ace Hotel

Moore Hotel & Theater
Portland, OR


Hotel Lucia, Portland, OR

Kimpton Hotel Vintage
Portland, OR


Finding placemaking in our commmunities
We travel through unique cities, towns and villages in WIsconsin and capture the authenticity of each place by researching the history, participating in local entertainment and observing artistic attactions. We believe every community has the potential for greatness and we continue to search for and find creativity and innovation in all the places we visit.

Shorewood, WI



Kenosha, WI




Plymouth, WI



Whitefish Bay, WI




Baraboo, WI



Ripon, WI




Hartford, WI



Stevens Point, WI




Observational Research: Design Clues
In this series of articles we took a look at some specific elements, including signage, "third places", and branding and how they affect our experience of 'place.'

Design Clues for Signage

DESIGN CLUES FOR SIGNAGE - VOLUME 3 Chemistry in Place's Paul Manley took a tour around Shorewood, studying the various signs used by business within the Shorewood Business District.



Pat Algiers Co-Chairs Plein Air

DESIGN CLUES FOR IN-HOUSE "THIRD PLACE"-VOLUME 1 Chemistry in Place's Sarah Streed went on a two-day tour of Milwaukee Central Business District coffee houses in order to figure out what elements translate to designing  in-house “third places”.


Design Clues for making your brand visible

DESIGN CLUES FOR MAKING YOUR BRAND VISIBLE-VOLUME 2 Chemistry in Place took a walk through Milwaukee's Third Ward and pondered the saying: “You are what you eat."  Are eating and drinking establishments what their signs suggest?



Locally Sustainable
The creation of locally sustainable commerce districts is necessary for the sustainability of our nation.  Ask what is unique about your particular town, city, or village and the answers to its sustainability will follow.  Take a look at these cities and see what your thoughts are...


Fort Myers Denver
Seattle Denver
Portland Denver
Beloit Burbank, CA
Detroit Shorewood
Whitefish Bay Stevens Point
New Orleans Chicago
Denver 2014 Vancouver
Charleston Phoenix
New York Denver
  New Orleans Tampa
  Boston Ripon
  Baraboo Shorewood
  Hartford Plymouth