Ann Arbor architects plan to rehab food truck as a pop-up design studio

Ann Arbor architect practice Synecdoche Design Studio is planning to rehab an old food truck to be a sharable, pop-up, mobile design workshop that can support local creatives and teach maker skills. 

Synecdoche recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to roll out TruckTruck, which is set to be incarnated from a broken-down food truck donated by Ricewood Grill. Synecdoche co-founder Lisa Sauve says the venture is also an unofficial start to a nonprofit that is in the works. She ties it back to her company's motto: Do Good Work.

"TruckTruck solidifies a lot of our Do Good Work efforts," she says. "We've been doing small things in the community throughout the years, and now we're creating a way to focus everything together and bring other resources and people into the mix."

She adds that the venture will also fill a need that her company has been concerned about. 

"There are missed pockets within our community and we need to go into the community and meet people where they're at," she says. "We want to make more equitable and accessible opportunities for people to become involved with creative experiences."

The Kickstarter campaign will run until Oct. 28, with the goal of raising $12,000. Funds will go toward making the truck (which will boast a CD printer) road-safe. Donations will also allow organizers to reconstruct the truck's interior to support tools for maker workshops, retail storage, and displays; as well as purchase art supplies. 

Sauve says that while support has been encouraging so far and she's very hopeful that the campaign will reach its $12,000 goal, she's excited about the possibility of more community assistance.

"It's going to take a lot more money, so we're looking for matching funds support as well," she says. "We're going to do all we can on this end to raise the $12,000 and hope that the community meets us on the other side."

Synecdoche's goal is to fundraise this fall, complete mechanical repairs during the winter, and have TruckTruck on the road by May. When TruckTruck is road-ready it will be available for rent by local small businesses for one to three months.

"Synecdoche will kind of test-run it first with some mobile maker workshops and then we want creatives to use it to bring creative experiences to the community," Sauve says. "We are excited about becoming a roving beacon of creativity in our town."

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at

Photo courtesy of Synecdoche Design Studio.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.