• Creative Endeavors

    Redesigning identity

    The Detroit area has long been a metropolis of creative endeavors, from art and architecture, to music and culinary pursuits. For six decades, Skidmore Studio has been integral in this development as an illustration-turned-branding-and-design firm that seeks to nurture the region’s creative talent, while also employing an empathetic and flexible approach to problem-solving.  Recently, the firm utilized this process to perform its own visual rebranding in tandem with its 60th anniversary, replacing largely introspective brand elements with outgoing designs. “Its new visual personality focuses on clarity and flexibility, with new, minimal typography replacing the classic Skidmore Studio logo, which was comprised by the letter “S,” for Skidmore, and an intersecting…

  • Creative Endeavors,  Featured,  Form

    Poetic structures

    Detroit has been home to artists in their many forms—designers, architects, sculptors, and fashion creatives, among others—who have set roots in the city as a space for personal and professional practice; often drawn to its rich industrial and design history as well as its current fabrication abilities. Its resources for the arts—such as Detroit Institute of Arts, College for Creative Studies, and Cranbrook Academy of Art—also draw national and international attention as centers for artistic preservation, exploration, and experimentation. In 2015, internationally-acclaimed artist and designer Nina Cho made Detroit the base for her professional practice, Nina Cho LLC, and personal studio; going on to exhibit at the Robert Adler Gallery…

  • Featured

    Garrick Landsberg, AIA, LEED AP

    Garrick Landsberg, AIA, LEED AP, senior architect at Quinn Evans Architects in Detroit, Michigan, had a prolific and inspired, if not circuitous, path into the field of architecture and historic preservation. As a licensed architect, planner, and urban designer, Landsberg has an affinity for urban history and historic architecture—particularly that of Detroit, Michigan—and yet it was a passion courted slowly throughout his personal and professional life. “[Design] is searching for ways to make the world better. It’s the practice of trained practitioners across various disciplines—architecture being one of them—that seeks to employ an approach, skill, and knowledge to identify problems, propose solutions, and really move things into the future,” Landsberg…

  • Design Spotlight

    Commerce Design: Detroit

    The inaugural competition announces 10 winning projects in a celebration of design and highlight of innovation in business across the city’s neighborhoods. Text: R.J. Weick   Design Core Detroit, a non-profit organization championing design-driven businesses, and AIA Detroit officially announced the 10 winning projects of the inaugural Commerce Design: Detroit competition during a special ceremony held Oct. 25, 2018 at the Garden Theatre on Woodward in Midtown. The competition not only recognizes brick-and-mortar commercial projects submitted jointly by business owner and design team, but also celebrates entrepreneurism and the value of design throughout the City of Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck neighborhoods in the last five years. Of the 37…

  • Travel

    Detroit foundation

    Newly transformed into a 100-room boutique hotel, the site of the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and adjacent Pontchartrain Wine Cellars expresses an authenticity to its landmarked designation by embracing and celebrating Detroit’s design, art, architecture, and industrial communities.  “One of the interesting things about the hotel to me, is it is just full of richness and it is not designed with a capital ‘d’. It’s really authentic to Detroit, to the building, to the local artists reacting to the building, to the local makers, to the stuff that is in the rooms, and to the furniture and lighting,” said Michael Poris, AIA, president and principal at McIntosh Poris Associates…

  • Creative Endeavors

    Crafted pairing

    Text: R.Collins  For years, craft food and spirits enthusiasts have learned to expect quality, care, and tightly-packed flavor from Detroit, Michigan-area natives Valentine Distilling Company and McClure’s Pickles. Last week on Aug. 7, 2018, the pair announced a collaboration to renew the 2017’s well-received Bloody Mary Mix Kit, in-step with tailgate season.  The Kit—being released for distribution in late September 2018—includes a fifth of Valentine vodka and McClure’s classic Bloody Mary Mix along with two glasses, for $29.99. Rifino Valentine, founder of Valentine Distilling Company, said the kit is a testament to Michigan’s lively and growing collective of craft liquor and food products. “When we started there wasn’t much on…

  • Commercial,  Form

    Experiential luxury

    By: R.J. Weick Buick, the international modern luxury brand of Detroit-based General Motors Co., partnered with Van Dam Custom Boats, a designer and builder of fine wooden boats in Boyne City, Michigan to deliver an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience and lakeside excursion to Boyne City and Walloon Lake on July 17, 2018 through July 19, 2018.  The event, which embodied Buick’s Avenir sub-brand’s definition of experiential luxury, not only highlighted the artistry and advanced technology in the design process behind making the Buick Avenir vehicle line, but also featured the craftsmanship in molding functionality, performance, and beauty in each handcrafted vessel throughout Van Dam Custom Boats’ more than 40-year-legacy.  Set against…

  • Commercial,  Form,  Print Edition

    Refined kinetics

    Within the nationally registered historic walls of the Federal Reserve Building in Detroit’s Financial District, a net has been cast; infusing a nearly 4,400-square-foot ground level space with an intentional design aesthetic capturing the more ethereal qualities of a modern sushi restaurant’s brand. Original text by: R.J. Weick Photos courtesy EE Berger Read more in the print edition

  • Form

    Undisguised beauty

    A volunteer-led initiative to restore an iconic theatre is a labor of love. By R. Collins Vaudeville-style in Detroit is hard to imagine if not witnessed first-hand. Vaudeville was the birth of a brand new strain of theatre life as well as an era that sparked many notable and often tumultuous careers. Judy Garland took to the stage with the Gumm sisters for the first 13 years of her career, and Harry Houdini’s act was picked up by one of the most sought-after agents at the time. Vaudeville fused entertainment with big business for the first time and, as a result, the movie palace was born. The Redford Theatre on…