acm school of music

WEETU CREATES BRANDED INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT FOR CHICAGO'S RAVENSWOOD LOCATION. 

[Chicago] Access Contemporary Music (ACM) in a not-for-profit organization that integrates musical creativity into everyday life through storefront music schools, among many other programs.

Seth Boustead, a composer and active advocate for new classical music, founded ACM in 2004 with the vision to change the image of classical music and present it as a "living tradition – not dead European men in wigs". To do so, they had to go where the people are, make it visible and raise music literacy. 

In 2007, Boustead started ACM School of Music in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood on a shoestring budget in a small storefront space with just a few pieces of used furniture and a piano. Since then, it has not only expanded to two additional storefronts, but it has grown to serve 120 students in piano, violin, cello, flute, composition, theory, guitar and voice. Now, after years of hard work and growth, ACM engaged weetu to align their physical storefront locations with their mission and further define their brand, while providing a more welcome, visible and comfortable environment for their patrons and surrounding community.

weetu was inspired by ACM’s mission of visibility and being accessible to the masses. As a storefront location in a residential neighborhood, it’s an exciting concept to play with. The idea that anybody walking by can view in to see a person learning music and be welcome to come in, have a cup of coffee and listen, chat with others in their community. 

"When visiting ACM School of Music, my first impression was how closed off it was from the sidewalk", says weetu founder Carly Cannell. "ACM's mission is to be visible and accessible to the masses, yet the storefront was obstructed with screens and large graphics making it difficult to see in. Our first priority was to open it up, define a clear entrance at the corner and move classrooms to the window to allow action to tell a story about what ACM provides. We also created a clear access to the cafe, so a passerby feels welcome to enter even if they don't initially realize it's a School of Music". 

weetu feels strongly that more diverse communities need access to the arts, so this has been a fun project to be involved in. Working closely with Boustead, weetu has designed the next generation of ACM School of Music, but the work is not over. As a non-profit, ACM is currently fundraising to actualize this vision. 


ACCESS CAFE: Angular suspended ceiling planes back-lit with linear architectural LED lighting define wayfinding throughout the space, connecting administrative and editor suites.

ACCESS CAFE: Angular suspended ceiling planes back-lit with linear architectural LED lighting define wayfinding throughout the space, connecting administrative and editor suites.

PLAN: The existing plan, which started out as three separate storefronts, lacked flow and efficiency of square footage.  weetu  was inspired by the movement of sound and created a kinetic path to unify the space, allowing for clear and direct wayfinding from public zones to the classrooms.

PLAN: The existing plan, which started out as three separate storefronts, lacked flow and efficiency of square footage. weetu was inspired by the movement of sound and created a kinetic path to unify the space, allowing for clear and direct wayfinding from public zones to the classrooms.

PERFORMANCE ROOM AT STOREFRONT: The only existing space to remain,  weetu  designed integrated wood benches for viewers within the larger performance room, which also allow for additional waiting space along the storefront when the room is not in use. Vibrant magenta tones and acoustic panels are layered on the wall, referencing ACM's magenta brand color within the existing logo.

PERFORMANCE ROOM AT STOREFRONT: The only existing space to remain, weetu designed integrated wood benches for viewers within the larger performance room, which also allow for additional waiting space along the storefront when the room is not in use. Vibrant magenta tones and acoustic panels are layered on the wall, referencing ACM's magenta brand color within the existing logo.

WAITING AREA AND RETAIL ZONE: It was important to provide a variety of sitting areas throughout the space, including the cafe.  weetu  designed integrated display areas for music books and merchandise in two secondary zones within the space. The finishes for the public areas were designed with a residential feel, including wood tones and neutral walls, while classrooms take on bold layers of color, including floors, layered painted walls with color felt acoustic panels.

WAITING AREA AND RETAIL ZONE: It was important to provide a variety of sitting areas throughout the space, including the cafe. weetu designed integrated display areas for music books and merchandise in two secondary zones within the space. The finishes for the public areas were designed with a residential feel, including wood tones and neutral walls, while classrooms take on bold layers of color, including floors, layered painted walls with color felt acoustic panels.

VIEW FROM ENTRY LOOKING TOWARDS CAFE AND STOREFRONT CLASSROOM: Guests can grab a cup of coffee and sit in the window looking out to the neighborhood, or into one of the storefront classrooms. The idea is that anyone is welcome, including students, guests and the surrounding community.

VIEW FROM ENTRY LOOKING TOWARDS CAFE AND STOREFRONT CLASSROOM: Guests can grab a cup of coffee and sit in the window looking out to the neighborhood, or into one of the storefront classrooms. The idea is that anyone is welcome, including students, guests and the surrounding community.