Blog: Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle grew up in Royal Oak, studied industrial design at the Center for Creative Studies and is now an exhibit designer. He co-founded the DJ collectives Dorkwave and Dethlab, and joined the experience design agency o2 Creative Solutions. He is also a designer for Ann Arbor/New York based indie electronic label Ghostly International. He promises his blogs for metromode will be provocative!

Post No. 1

I've always been fascinated by the aesthetics of industry. I don't know if it's because I grew up in Detroit or part of why I returned. It permeates my work, and there are few smells sweeter than a welding shop or the combination of oil, rubber and leather in an old automotive garage. As far as industrial indulgence, nothing beats exploring an old factory - and there is no better place for that than Detroit.

My fiance and I have been avid urban explorers for many years. The first time exploring together, we climbed to the penthouse of the Broderick Tower and the roof of the Michigan Central Station in the same night - during a freak April snow storm no less. Since then we've tried to make each adventure unique. We once hosted an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party on the roof of Fisher Body Plant 21, complete with hot Earl Gray, fine china, a lace tablecloth and costumes. (Yes, there was top hat, a blue dress and a full body rabbit suit involved.) On another occasion we organized a croquet social at the Packard plant on East Grand Blvd. Being that the factory was built in 1907, we dressed in proper Edwardian attire of course.

The Packard is our favorite place to explore. Designed by Albert Kahn and totaling nearly four million square feet, the facility is one of the grandest modern ruins in the world. Aside from its
automotive history, it's a landmark in Detroit music history. Many of the important techno parties happened there in the early 1990s and it still resonates with the energy of that time if you imagine.

This past summer we brought the techno/industrial band MOTOR from Europe to perform at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. They wanted to see some of the unique parts of Detroit, and it so happened that URB Magazine asked us to contribute photos and words for a story
about urban exploring the week before. Perfect! We didn't have to think twice about the location.

We picked the guys up the morning after the show, stopped for breakfast at the diner downstairs from the Leland Hotel and headed over to the Packard. We wandered around for two hours, shot photos, and left it as we found it - as we always do. Abandoned buildings are like nature reserves... just with a lot of concrete and steel, and the random gaping hole in the floor. It was a great experience to show one of techno's most exiting new acts the very same place I saw Richie Hawtin and Derek May perform with generators fifteen years earlier. It takes experiencing places like the Packard to begin to understand what motivates artists in Detroit. It's either overwhelming depressing or inspiring. Choosing the second opens up a world of