Design :In the News

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Southeast Michigan's second shipping container house completed in Royal Oak

On Rochester Road in Royal Oak, developer ModEco just completed construction of a house made from five shipping containers.

Curbed highlights Cranbrook's design legacy

Curbed's Patrick Sisson digs deep into the design legacy of one of metro Detroit's most important cultural institutions, the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Check out these techs. Google Demo investors will.

Three Detroit-area tech startups have won a chance to pitch their companies to investors lined up by Google and looking for business ideas to put their money behind.
After competing last week in the Grand Circus Detroit Google Demo Day competition, the founders of AdAdaptedGENOMENON and LevelEleven, are hoping to be picked to visit Google’s California HQ in April and spill to investors what’s promising about their companies. One or two will make the cut to make the trip to Mountainview, Calif.

“We’re very impressed by the talented entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the Detroit area. Google for Entrepreneurs partners with organizations like Grand Circus to help these local communities of entrepreneurs grow and thrive,” said John Lyman, head of partnerships and marketing for Google for Entrepreneurs.

Read more about these little companies that could here.

Shinola watch company to add retail outlet in Washington, D.C.

Shinola, a manufacturer and retailer of watches and other high-end goods, is putting the shine on with its latest retail store.


"Detroit-based Shinola continues to expand its retail presence beyond the Motor City, with a permanent, brick-and-mortar outlet reportedly in the works for the nation's capital.

The company, which makes watches in Detroit, in addition to crafting bikes, journals and leather goods at a variety of mostly-American locations, last month said it was opening shops in London, Los Angeles and Chicago...

Shinola had previously said it will have six brick-and-mortar stores once the Chicago one comes online in the Wicker Park-Bucktown neighborhood. Shinola’s flagship Detroit location is at 441 W. Canfield in Midtown, and the company also has stores in Manhattan and Minneapolis.

It also has a presence in Paris' ultra-trendy Colette shop and in the Abu Dhabi airport."

More here

Forbes magazine spotlights business acumen of Fathead's CEO

Forbes recently profiled the CEO of Detroit-based Fathead, a leading national supplier of life-sized vinyl wall graphics.


"The ‘Core-Trust-Loyalty’ belief system has remained with McInnis over the past five years as Fathead recently  shifted from sports-specific offerings to being a lifestyle consumer company. Now, as the company’s leader, part of McInnis’ role is that of a “psychologist,” somebody who understands the makeup and personality of the senior leadership team and, in turn, can motivate people in different ways."

More here

Cooley Law School building is one of world's most impressive

A rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, low flow plumbing and other eco-focused features has landed Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills at #35 on the list of the most impressive law school buildings in the world, according to Best Choice Schools.


"Established in 1972 in Lansing, Michigan, the institution’s Auburn Hills campus recently received LEED Silver certification. Renovations to the existing structure and an additional 64,000 square feet were designed by SHW Group architects and engineers, and include a green roof, rainwater-harvesting system, low flow plumbing, and an energy efficient lighting system."

More here

Detroit Custom Coach outfits food trucks, vans, and limos with new interiors

Here's a company on a roll outfitting coaches with luxe new interior swag.


"As the owner of  Detroit Custom Coach LLC, he knows a few things about building out food trucks. For the past four years, he's been fabricating custom food trucks — such as the newly finished  Eskimo Jacks  ice cream sandwich mobile — as well as turning limos and vans into rolling dens of luxury...

It's a good line of work that allowed Ramos to turn former competitors into clients. His first business was a shuttle service called  Night Moves Transportation. But when Ramos realized he could charge more to rent a party bus, he decided to build one...

Recently a client hired DCC to turn a van into a rolling humidor, complete with high-end TVs and sound system. And while that was a big job, the most extravagant vehicle in DCC's portfolio is a custom project for  Jim Beam.The bourbon distiller wanted the passenger shuttle running at its distillery in Clermont, Ky., to look like an old 1930s truck delivering barrels."

More here.

Detroit-based Shinola founder talks "American made" with Wall St. Journal

Cars aside, watches and bikes are the new big-ticket "Made in Detroit" items. 


"Not many people would relish the chance to pack up a sunny Southern California life and move to Detroit. But Daniel Caudill, the creative director of Shinola—a manufacturer of watches, bicycles, leather goods and more—has so much in common with the upstart company that he did it gladly. Raised in rural Montana, Mr. Caudill likes a good heritage back-story, and Shinola, a once-iconic shoe-polish brand that became a punch line (as in "You don't know s—from…") in World War II, has one."

More here.

Detroit-based Door Stops designers get national attention for "public furniture"

While "public art" has made it into the everyday lexicon, how about "public furniture?" 


"Made from old doors salvaged from destroyed properties, the shelters are colorfully painted to put a smile on the faces of folks in the vicinity. (Not that you could tell it from the above photo – maybe the bus is running late?) The first of the stops went out into the city  late last year; today, the A' Design Award & Competition announced that it is gifting the effort with a silver medal in "Social Design."

More here.

Detroit watchmaker Shinola makes the big time

Will a Detroit-made Shinola become the new Rolex? Time will tell.


"Three years ago, in autumn 2010, a small group of businessmen, consisting of watch industry stalwarts from Swiss movement manufacturer Ronda and strategic developers from Dallas-based  Bedrock Brands, came together to discuss the possibility of regenerating the long-defunct U.S. watch industry. What emerged was the Shinola watch factory, which established itself on the fifth floor of Detroit's College for Creative Studies.

According to its CEO, Steve Bock: "We are not doing this out of philanthropy, we chose to come to Detroit for practical business reasons. It is a city of heritage and of global recognition—just look at what has come out of Detroit—the motor industry, World War II manufacturing, and music. Craftsmanship and a first-rate work ethic emanate from the city."

More here.

Superfly Kids finds flyaway success with superhero capes business

What started as a sewing hobby has achieved liftoff for a pair of intrepid entrepreneurs in Livonia.


" Michigan company is moving faster than a speeding bullet — by  selling superhero capes.

Livonia-based Superfly Kids makes and sells capes — custom capes, to be exact — for kids and a few adults. And their sales have taken off like, well, Superman.

From 2010 to this year, the company, owned by Holly Bartman and Justin Draplin, has seen its revenues leap from about $260,000 to an estimated $2.4 million. They are expected to double next year."

More here.

At Maker Faire, anything flies

A Cloud Bean, an X-Wing, and a dining-table sized version of the Operation game were just a few of the don't-miss attractions at last weekend's Maker Faire at the Henry Ford. But if you did miss it, check out these cool images.

Popular Mechanics gazes into crystal ball, sees an amazing 2025 Detroit

You have to like an article that starts with "Detroit's comeback is not only inevitable, it's already underway." Makes you want to read more doesn't it? It's view of water and landscape is the stuff that dreams are made of.
"Reemerging waterways and feral forests claim land left open by sharp population decline. Detroit goes green with planning that takes advantage of the city's unique ecology."
Read the rest here.

Detroit Auto Show's concept cars get thumbs up for design

Let's face it, checking out the new models can be informative but it's the concept cars that rule. DesignNews offers up 17 cool as a cucumber shots of concepts cars worth salivating over from January's auto show.

Personally, we're impressed with how cool Chrysler made a mini van look.

Check out Captain Hybrid's faves here.

Metro Detroit's creative community gets its own incubator

In the rush to create new economy jobs in metro Detroit the talk has mostly centered around incentives and support for engineering, life sciences, green energy, and computer technology. But building a creative class is more than hot on the job market front.

Enter Detroit's new Creative Ventures Acceleration Program, an incubator oriented toward design, film, music, and social media. And it's getting national attention.


"The Creative Ventures Acceleration Program offers local entrepreneurs access to resources, services, strategic counseling, development support and other services that seek to "increase the density of creative-sector businesses in the downtown area," according to the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, a business accelerator that developed the program.

Backed by $500,000 in funding by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the U.S. Small Business Administration, among other groups, the program features a 12-month curriculum for "ventures-in-residence" to better identify development goals and best practices."

Get the rest of the story here.

Detroit blogger uncovers modern living in St. Clair Shores

Detroit's modern living boutique Mezzanine blogs about a modern living oasis in St. Clair Shores.


An influx of young Dwell magazine-reading families could really make this neighborhood of starter homes a hot little modern gem - a bookend for the more traditional Cabbage Patch neighborhood at the southern border of Grosse Pointe.  The price is right on these places - my pics were taken last fall, BEFORE the market bottomed out - when they were going for a little over $100k typically, and a fixer upper was priced as above.  And they're all in walking, and certainly biking, distance from some great shops and restaurants on Mack Avenue, including Josef's bakery and Merchant's Wines.

With a little elbow grease to un-DIY some of the design mistakes, and a few more Mini Coopers in the driveways, this neighborhood could be out-of-control cool.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit has the talent, it's time to unleash it

So, a group in Detroit is planning to bring in 1000 creative jobs. Tim Smith, president of Skidmore - a Royal Oak design firm - writes in the Detroit Free press that it's not always about the jobs but the actual work. Keep the work in mind when filling these 1000 jobs.

Gm Volt design takes shape

GM's lithium-ion battery powered car, the Volt, is moving right along. They've nailed down a design that looks a lot like their concept they showed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Keepin' tabs on the artists

Stand up and be counted if you're an artist in Washtenaw County. Well, actually, it's more like sit down, fill out a survey, and be counted. Between April 1 and May 17 the Washtenaw County Arts Alliance will launch an Artists' Census.

The future may start with a go-kart

Lawrence Tech is participating in something that takes Formula-1 racing to the next level - albeit a smaller, futuristic level. It's called Formula Zero, it's an international zero-emissions race using hydrogen fuel cells strapped to go-karts.

World's 50 most innovated companies - Michigan snatches two

Fast Company hit the streets to fine some of the most inventive, innovated and intriguing companies around. Two of Michigan's own were tacked to the list.

Ypsilanti-based VGKids growing up, to go national

Ok, so maybe James Marks isn't growing up, but his company is. VGKids, an Ypsilanti-based screen printing business that has grown 150 percent in the last year, is dropping in on the West Coast.

Orange County Chopper for sale

Wanna buy an Orange County Chopper? No? What if it was for a good cause?

Creative companies asked to participate in regional survey

Creativity? Oh, we've got it, all right. Anyone who knows the metro area knows our downtowns and side streets are bustling with stores that are part of the creative economy, from local fashion designers to graphic artists to Web specialists. Detroit Renaissance and Crain's Detroit Business are trying to survey southeast Michigan's creative economy.

Adcraft Club honors creatives in The D on Nov. 28

The Adcraft Club of Detroit will honor the community's advertising and marketing professionals with "The D Show," scheduled for 6- 11 p.m. Wednesday Nov. 28 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.

Local 'design superstars' share their concepts this evening

At a wine and cheese reception this evening at the Garden Court Condominiums in Detroit's New Center, twelve design concepts will be presented. Attendees can vote on their favorite scheme -- the winner will be named Detroit's Design Superstar.

LTU "off the grid" house on display in DC

Lawrence Technological University is one of 20 schools from around the United State in Europe competing in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC this week. Each team had to build a home that was completely self-sufficient, or off-the-grid.

Ann Arbor design store makes its way to Detroit

Modern design store Mezzanine, once a mainstay of Ann Arbor, has re-opened in downtown Detroit.

New director takes over helms of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Michael Hodges interviews the new director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Reed Kroloff, who brings an impressive resume and great excitement to his new position.

High school robotics competition returns to Oakland County

The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Competition pits high schoolers against one another in the design and assembly of robots.

Automation Alley added 39 members in January

39 new members joined Automation Alley, the tech trade group based in Troy, in the month of January - a single month record for the organization.

Local online company markets conscience capitalism

Nev Muftari, a local entrepreneur, has launched an on-line “cause-marketing” company that will promote products sold for the benefit of a non-profit agency.

$400,000 awarded to arts community to establish Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan

The Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan has received $400,000 in start-up funding from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan along with the McGregor Fund and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The Alliance will work to increase collaborations between and visibility of arts and cultural organizations in the seven-county SEMCOG region.

Creative Peoples Network brings together local artists across genres

Model D and metromode photographer Dave Krieger will be one of the artists featured in Exhibit 1. put on by Creative Peoples Network on Jan. 27 at Cass Café. The reception will be held from 7-10 pm and will also showcase Phaedra Robinson, Amanda Coggin, Matthew Craven, Scott Humphrey, Erin Aube and John Azoni.

UM grad student documentary sheds insight into downtowns

Kirk Wesphal, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan's Master of Urban Planning program, has made a documentary about the magical mix of ingredients that makes a downtown vibrant.

Concrete floors are local artist's canvas

West Bloomfield artist Lou DeCillis specializes in colorful and dramatic concrete floors. His work can be seen is stores and homes all over Metro Detroit.

Troll the show with these 'autoextremists'

Check out all that's hot at Detroit's North American International Auto Show with a bunch of "autoextremists" via their blog.
38 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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