John Hensel

Senior Event Designer


Having designed and produced his first event in 1982, John has devoted nearly his entire career to the art of fine event design. Initially building his business in Boston, John later shifted his work into the windy city and currently celebrates his twelfth year with HMR Designs. He has styled events in all corners of New England, throughout the Midwest and in Europe. With a keen eye for editing out extraneous filler elements, John’s events are marked by a highly polished and understated elegance. Each and every detail is important to him, and the way that a guest experiences each well-selected detail is part and parcel to his process. John’s events are memorable for their extraordinary beauty and for the unparalleled service, which he shares with each client.


What inspires you? A lot of different things. Morning light after a hard rain. The curve in the stem of a flower. The juxtaposition of a contemporary dinner table setting in a very classical room. Creative people who know when to stop creating. Flowers! I could go on and on.

What makes you well suited for the work you do? I’ve been working with flowers and plants since I was a small child. I grew up with them and see them as a wonderful metaphor for our own human existence. There is a reason why we like flowers at all the special events in our lives, and that is because they reflect our lives in so many ways.

What’s your most memorable moment with HMR Design? There are a lot. The ones that I can mention include an opening event that I designed for the Modern Wing at the Art Institute, a series of dinners that I designed and produced in St. Paul deVence, France and teaching some Dutch master designers how to really produce a big wedding in a semi-trailer in Iowa.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

PRESS

JOHN’S RECENT WORK

blue-and-white-wedding-in-a-tent-with-decor-by-John Hensel of hmr-designs-and-birch-design-studio-in-chicago
KENT DRAKE PHOTOGRAPHY | PRIVATE RESIDENCE | BIRCH DESIGN STUDIO
van-gogh-gala-at-art-institute-chicago-with-decor-by-John Hensel of hmr-designs
FANDL PHOTOGRAPHY | THE MODERN WING AT THE ART INSTITUTE | FROST CHICAGO
outdoor-chicago-wedding-with-floral-and-decor-by-John Hensel of hmr-designs
KENT DRAKE PHOTOGRAPHY | PRIVATE RESIDENCE
hanging-floral-and-unique-lighting by John Hensel-for-a-gala-by-hmr-designs
FANDL PHOTOGRAPHY | THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
rustic-chicago-wedding-ceremony-with-decor-by-John Hensel of hmr-designs
KENT DRAKE PHOTOGRAPHY | CAFE BRAUER
red-and-fuchsia-wedding-flowers-from-John Hensel of HMR-Designs-in-Chicago-
KENT DRAKE PHOTOGRAPHY | WESTIN O’HARE

TESTIMONIALS

TALK ABOUT A WINNING FEELING!
John,
I don’t know where to begin describing everything you did to help us create the absolute most incredible environment for Hannah and Hustin’s wedding. At many times throughout the night, I just stood back and let our world of people praise your touch.  The compliments were endless and the observations were detailed enough to note every component.  I marveled at how people recognized true artistry when they could easily be distracted by great food, great drinks, great weather, great World Series winning mood…. You are awesome, but most of all, you’re a delight to be around and partnering with you was a pleasure from start to finish. The candles on the driveway are still flickering. Will you explain that miracle or does that just mean they have to stay here forever???

A million thanks…
-Hillary
(and Rob, Hannah, Justin, Jeremy, Eve and Liza…our family)

John,
Please allow me to take a moment to say that a simple thank you cannot express how thrilled we all were with the design for Olivia and Bryce’s wedding. Everyone was awed by how beautiful everything looked, down to the last detail, and impressed with the efficiency of your staff in turning over the room. We felt well pampered in your capable hands, and so appreciative that you were there to guide the process and handle our questions and last minute concerns.

Throughout the process of planning the wedding, you were helpful and responsive. We never doubted for a moment that the design would be outstanding, but that moment of walking in to see the room for the first time will stay with me always – breath-taking and perfect. If there is ever an occasion for floral design, we will always look to you and your team, knowing that it will come off flawlessly and brilliantly.
Thank you again.
All the best,
Susie

Dear John,I really wanted to send you a note as soon as I had a minute to simply thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating the wedding of my dreams!You were the only person I wanted to work with from the beginning, it was never a question.  I remember how incredible you were with my sister during her wedding and I knew when it was my turn we would be working with you again.
The entire room was flawless. The chuppah and ceremony was exactly what I wanted. So sparkly and fresh, not over the top and just simple and elegant. The card table and every centerpiece in the main room was perfect.  It was honestly a gorgeous summer night and sparkly evening and that’s all because of you.
It was so easy working together and I enjoyed every minute of it. I have already passed your name along to some of my friends who recently got engaged or may be getting engaged in the near future, so hopefully you will hear from them.
Again, thank you so so much for everything.  You were such a pleasure to work with and everything was beyond perfect!!!!!!!!!!
Warmly,
Naomi

…As you know, that event marked the third consecutive year that I have had the distinct honor and pleasure working with John Hensel. Besides laughing at my lousy jokes. John’s contribution to each event was unbelievable. we waited until the day of the wedding to decide whether or not we were going to be able to have the wedding ceremony on the rooftop of the East Bank Club. Due to the high humidity and temperature, we had to hold the ceremony inside which resulted in a room transformation. John and his staff did not miss a beat. No one had any idea that the ceremony was to be held outside. In fact, so many guests marveled at how beautiful the room looked fbr both the ceremony and the party. As I have told you in the past, HMR is indeed fortunate to have John Hensel as one of its senior event designers. John’s creativity and attention to detail are unparalleled. I view John has my genie who clearly can transform anyone’s dreams into reality. Once again, it was an absolute delight to work with him on making another one of Mr. Broadway’s events a memorable experience.

Kudos should also go to all of HMR staff who participated on June 28, 2014.Special thanks goes to Chris Mills for coordinating with the lighting team and being available to resolve any problems that may have occurred that day. As I have told John on repeated occasions, I am quite proud to have HMR as part of my A-team whenever I plan an event. Your professionalism, creativity, and work commitment cannot be matched by any other company in the Chicagoland area, if not, in this country. That is why I do not even bother to conduct a comparative analysis among HMR and its competitors in Chicago. Whenever I have a function, you can rest assured that Mr. Broadway will always be calling HMR to participate.

Thank you again for an outstanding evening.

Very truly yours,

Joel F. Handler

Dear John, Thank you so much for making our wedding the most beautiful wedding we have ever seen. You nailed my vision and I am so grateful. Words cannot express how amazing everything looked. Thank you again and thank you for being so fun and easy to work with!
Love, Ashley & Tim

Hi John. Where do I begin? Everything was beyond perfect. The ceremony and reception were both stunning. I loved working with you and Chris. You truly know how to capture a vision. I’m so grateful for everything you did for me and my family. I’ll never forget that night. I’m just so sad it’s over. You are an artistic genius.

Thank you a million times over.
Much Love,
Brooke

John, Wow, Wow, Wow; spectacular spectacular in every way that could be possible. You are an absolute delight. Thank you and hope to see you around town.
Fondly,
Bob

I just wanted to say, that oh my god you pulled it off again! Another fairy tale wedding…and so me! I don’t know how you do it! It was just so wonderful to see you again, thank you so much for all your hard work, every element was just spectacular! Every detail, so perfect, I just loved everything you did! So again, thank you so much for being so amazing, there’s so much I felt like I was worried about before the wedding….but the flowers and centerpieces? I never gave them a second thought, because I knew you were taking care of it, so I knew it would be perfect. Thank you John, you really are the best.
Always,
Anna

Dear John,
We are still pinching ourselves about how beautiful everything turned out. Your creativity, attention to detail and just plain dedication to perfection were evident from the first time we met you. To thank you doesn’t come close to expressing our gratitude. Everything was beyond amazing. You have earned a special place in Heaven.
Nancy and George

Dear John,
We would like to thank you for your outstanding contribution to the success of our wedding. We are so grateful for your passion, for your work, your commitment to our event and your meticulous attention to details. The flowers were absolutely stunning and made our wedding so special and magical. We received so many compliments and praise for the beautiful decor you created. You are so talented and creative and deserve your incredible reputation. We will truly cherish the memories that you helped create for us. We can not stop raving about your work and hope that someday we have another occasion for a florist. It was such a pleasure to work with you and we will be sure to recommend you to all of our friends.
All of the best,
Blossom and Adam