20 Under 30: Jason Mitchell
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Photo Kevin O'Riley
Born: June 13, 1978
Almost as well documented as the all-encompassing “green” movement is the recent “green backlash,” a “prove it” approach to conservation. (What do you expect but cynicism when Wal-Mart embraces a socially conscious stand?)
Refreshingly, you won’t find a cynical bone in Jason Mitchell’s body. Jason is the most public face of theworkshop308, the sustainable and environmentally friendly architecture and design firm he runs with college pal Michael Mardis, Mardis’s wife, Natalie, and a fourth, Chicago-based partner. “It’s hard to accept [being named 20 Under 30] as an individual,” he says. theworkshop308 specializes in turning rehabbed materials into furniture, as well as large-scale interior design projects—most notably Springfield’s most high-profile “green” small business, The Coffee Ethic on Park Central Square. Mitchell and Mardis also account for two of the three GRN:BOX recycling bin designs currently on display on the south end of Park Central Square (Jason is pictured with his).
But Jason’s workload wasn’t always so organic. After graduating from Drury University in 2001, Mitchell went to work for an unnamed “major” Chicago architecture firm, designing buildings from Chicago to Dubai. But what he dubs the “hypocritical” lifestyle and demands of big architecture jaded Jason, and in 2006 he moved home. In January 2007 theworkshop308 was born, and later the same year moved from its small space on Commercial Street to a larger home on Main Avenue, just north of College Street. Everyone who works at theworkshop donates one percent of his or her billable hours to charity (Jason is a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters), making human sustainability as big a priority as environmental.
What's Your Favorite:
Tie: The Big Lebowski and Spies Like Us
CBS Sunday Morning
Childhood cartoon character?
Not so much a ‘cartoon’ character, but… the Fraggles [Fraggle Rock] didn’t suck.
Kettle and soda with lemon
Local bar AND restaurant (name both)?
[Bar] Patton Alley Pub, [Restaurant] Tea Bar and Bites
Place to walk with your dog, Mater?
My neighborhood, Midtown.
Example of modern architecture?
Anything by Peter Zumthor, specifically the Bruder-Klaus Chapel in Germany
What’s the first website you check every day?
One night, no consequences, whom do you seduce?
Meagan Smith, over the phone, weekdays, around 3:15 p.m.
What’s the best thing about being younger than 30?
Ignorance is bliss.
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