In the Spotlight: Chris Savanelli

In the Spotlight: Chris Savanelli

Meet architect Chris Savanelli, who’s passionate about food, sports, and one special person in particular at Morgante Wilson.

You’ve been with MWA for five years. What keeps you here?

The people – to be specific the architects, the interior design team, and the architectural interiors team. First of all, I’m proud to be part of the talented and diverse group of architects who work in this office. I appreciate the enthusiasm and personalities of the interiors team. As for the architectural interiors team, well, my fiancé is a member of it so of course it’s close to my heart.

Wait – you have a fiancé at MWA?

Indeed I do! We met at the office in 2014 and are getting married in June.

Congratulations! That’s a very sweet story.

Funny you should say that. Someone called the office a few months ago asking to speak with “Sweet Chris.” It’s a name that’s stuck, and what I’m often called around here now.

Besides “sweet,” how do you think your coworkers would describe you?

Well, a few years ago Fred used “solid” to describe me at our office Christmas party. I also think I’m patient and funny. Definitely patient and hopefully funny.

You must be fun to work with. What kind of clients do you prefer?

I would have to say clients with an open mind and a sense of humor. Architecture is rarely a fluid process that produces a singular design solution. There are many options and avenues to travel for the same architectural problem and it’s not uncommon to end up on a completely different road from the one you started on. If you’re open to the prospect of change and the idea that the journey can be a fun experience, you’ll usually be happy with the end result.

What would your own dream house look like?

I’ve always been fascinated by the work of John Lautner, so maybe his Goldstein Residence in California. If you’ve seen the movie “The Big Lebowski” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Who, or what, inspires your work?

I’ve always been interested in the design coming out of the Bauhaus in the 20’s and early 30’s. The work is truly timeless, and I find it remarkable that it’s still prevalent and celebrated in popular culture almost 100 years later.

What else are you passionate about?

Food and sports, definitely. I learned from an early age that these two events bring people from all walks of life together. I love to cook and am probably a foodie, which it’s not difficult to be living in Chicago. I will also watch or talk sports with anyone who will join me or listen.

What might someone be surprised to learn about you?

 Most people are surprised to find out that I’m an only child.

Last question: If you weren’t in the architecture field, what might you be doing instead?

If you asked me when I was five, I would have said a basketball player. But given what’s turned out to be my vertical leap, I would probably be a chef.

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