Inside Studio Shell

Our Philosophy

An ongoing workshop spirit drives our studio.  Continuous experimentation and discovery leads to the unexpected use of materials and well-crafted structures.  We utilize our explorations in science and art as a guide in producing innovative environments inherently conscious of resources.  We believe in the extraordinary power of design to influence the quality of life for human beings as well as for the wildlife that surrounds us.  Our team creates value in each design challenge with efficient solutions, researching alternatives, and environmental stewardship.

Collaborations with other creatives inform Studio Shell’s projects from concept to finished product.  Our process begins with a conceptual design phase in which the clients are active participants.  We believe in the importance of sharing knowledge with each other, that each person brings unique intelligence to the picture, creating exceptional environments.  Intensive research of site context and program create a framework from which the design is further developed.


Modern Fruit Collection

15% of proceeds of the Modern Fruit Collection go to our Fresh Food Initiative;  providing fresh fruit and vegetables to low income and food desert communities, as well as emergency food assistance programs.


Concrete Objects

Studio Shell’s lightweight concrete mix is inspired by ancient Roman concrete. It is formulated for strength and longevity, and uses fine recycled material. Each piece is handmade, complete with small, natural irregularities including tiny bubbles and aggregate visible in the surface of the concrete. All pieces are treated with an eco-friendly, nontoxic sealant.

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Our studio is grounded in the practice of designing from the inside out. 

Who We Are

Founder, Architectural Designer

Kirstine Hanson

Kirstine earned her Bachelor of Interior Architecture (BIA) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch) from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She has studied and worked in Japan and Italy.  She has a background in residential and commercial design.

After working in architecture and interiors for a few years, she challenged herself to work less by computer and more with her own two hands.  She formed Studio Shell LLC in 2014 to focus on making small structures and objects.  She enjoys collaborating with local makers and non profits to provide works that are well-crafted and serve the community.  She develops innovative solutions that add value and meaning to each project, so that each design has a special impact on people and nature.

Kirstine’s investigations across disciplines lead her to functional designs with unexpected materials.  She strives to create works that are in harmony with nature and the human body.

When she is not building, she can be found working on her yard, birdwatching and going on mountain adventures with family.