At Cosmo Design Factory we believe that the spaces and structures where we live our lives have the capacity to change us.
When they are at their best, these constructions are friendly companions who help us to tell the past, present and future stories of our lives. In our design work for clients and communities, we act as guides in the process of narrating and inventing these stories through the medium of drawing, writing and built form.
We are a design practice that provides our clients with a range of services in the planning, development and execution of new buildings, renovations, objects and public spaces. We use our design expertise to engage clients in a collaborative and imaginative process from which we discern and prioritize goals, reconcile dreams and budgets, and assemble teams for implementation. We are hands on from start to finish, and enjoy working closely with engineers, contractors and fabricators to realize the project vision.
When we are not working for clients, we engage our design skills through research, installations and community projects in our own hometown. By conjuring and representing alternate futures, we encourage ourselves and our neighbors to imagine new environments that are different / better / more fun / more equitable / more humane / more playful / more soulful / more curious than the one that we currently inhabit. We are interested in pushing the boundaries between the probable, the possible and the unlikely.
Whether we are designing a house for a client or facilitating a community design workshop, Cosmo Design Factory executes every project that we work on with a curiosity and enthusiasm for the ideas that are at the heart of our collaborations, and a commitment to seeing those ideas become a reality.
Julia Sedlock is founder and president of Cosmo Design Factory. Her work leverages design thinking as a tool for community development and activism, working with neighbors and local government to imagine and create a more equitable and inclusive environment in their small rural village. In addition to collaborations with existing local organizations Julia has co-founded new organizations such as Philmont Community Action Network (P-CAN), Purpose Coworking, and Philmont Land Opportunity Trust (PLOT). Her forthcoming book publication, Creatures are Stirring, is the product of an ongoing collaboration with Joseph Altshuler of Could Be Architecture. Julia holds an M.Arch and M.A. in Design Criticism from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and selected writing has been published in PLAT, MAS Context, Soiled, Conditions, and Log.
Mark Rowntree is a partner in Cosmo Design Factory. In addition to his multiple collaborations with Julia in client and community work, he was instrumental in the extension of Purpose Coworking to create a community makerspace with formal and informal programming for village youth. In the makerspace he offers weekly ceramics classes for village youth, facilitates a BOA working group focused on the redesign of the Philmont Community Center located on Summit Lake, and mentors high school aged at-risk youth by teaching design software skills. As founding member of PLOT, Mark is committed to supporting and advancing the creative and entrepreneurial ambitions of village youth and young adults by lowering the bar to entry for high-skill job training and business incubation. Mark is also a member of the Philmont Volunteer Fire Company. He received a B.A. (Hons) in Ceramic Design from the Glasgow School of Art, and an M. Arch from University of Illinois at Chicago.