The preview was held today at the Garden Theatre in Detroit. Steven Gillon spoke briefly and introduced the film to the audience.
|Metal Leaves Studio||
Michigan Central Station has stood guard over the city since 1914. Although the last train left the station in 1988, this Beaux-Arts beauty has been an iconic symbol for the City of Detroit- the Good, the Bad-- and the Ugly.
Ford Motor Co. recently purchased the structure, vowing to restore it and fill it with 5,000 workers- about half of which will be employed by Ford, the other 2,500 will be brought in via other companies leasing offices through Ford. There was some talk about a mixed-use facility, but I don’t know how legit that info is. Ford plans to have the building renovated by 2022.
Ford graciously opened the doors to the kingdom to massive crowds of people. From Friday through Monday, it allowed visitors to enter through its arched entrance and get a chance to gawk at the sheer beauty and desecration inside the walls of the station.
I was one of those people. I had never been inside but have taken thousands of photos of the exterior over the past 15 years. I’ve heard stories about this place. My grandparents were WWII refugees, and finally escaped into America after spending weeks on a ship— entering through Michigan Central Station.
So it kinda became a symbol of hope to me, not despair- because of these stories I grew up hearing. And yeah, I may have felt like I was going to cry as I walked around- but that was from an overwhelming sense of history, nostalgia and happiness.
Detroit Startup Week had a ton of GREAT events for entrepreneurs and business owners. These informative sessions were held throughout the city this week, all hosted by amazing businesspeople. So many featured valuable insight shared with the crowd learn and it is a really valuable place for meeting like-minded people while networking.
The Henry Ford Museum hosted a conversation about design , "How to Grow a Chair," featuring Berlin-based designers Burkhard Schmitz and Carola Zwick, co-founders of Studio 7.5.
Studio 7.5 is the design force behind the Cosm chair. This chair was created in collaboration with Herman Miller and marks the fourth time the studio has teamed up with the iconic furniture company. The talk provided insight into their design and fabrication process during the development of the Cosm for Herman Miller.
How to Grow a Chair | Studio 7.5's Design Process
"We learned so much by assembling everything wrong"
"A lot of things went wrong." Carola Zwick confessed lightheartedly, during the initial development stages of the Cosm chair.
She said that a team of eight basically had 120 seconds to act fast before the polyurethane dried as they were working through prototypes, making it impossible to modify after that blink-of-an-eye timeframe.
Ms Zwick said another challenge surrounding the "Cosm" came from the intricate design of the teeth- a major component of the chair's unparalleled suspension. "We had to count line by line. One line resulted in entirely different sitting experience. "
The designers worked to create a piece of furniture that would seamlessly translate funtion and comfort into a single chair.
"It’s not an armrest- it’s an elbow cradle."
"Our first iteration scared our client," joked Burkhard Schmitz, noting that the "elephant ears" were an unconventional, yet important aspect of the design.
He went on to mention the "leaf arms" that are integral to the overall design and functionality of this chair-- the potentially overlooked elbow support.
But don't call them arm rests! Mr. Schmitz refers to them as "elbow cradles," highlighting the importance of getting this particular part right.
"A chair should be designed like a bicycle- not a car."
An interesting declaration from Burkhard Schmitz was that approach to designing a chair should be akin to designing a bike-- not a vehicle.
The designers made a concerted effort to follow in the footsteps of Charles & Ray Eames: with the intent to design with great attention to every detail.
"We were able to think about entire family of chairs. All provide diff sitting experience but able to use same design."
The studio was able to illustrate the manufacturing process first-hand to the fabricators at Herman Miller. The designers travelled to the Zeeland, Michigan facility and taught their design methods for the chair at the Herman Miller Design Yard. And although it was a challenge to replicate exactly, they were able to find a solution and produce a high-quality, specialized chair, uniformly.
A Day at Herman Miller Design Yard
Herman Miller | Threads
Detroit Designs the World
Art in Detroit | A Sculptural Adventure
Designers from around Detroit were showcased at the Edison Boat Club, which is juxtaposed between nature and industry.
This event was an exploration of Adaptive Reuse, with various projects featured. Hosted by Design Core, this informative session was a pictorial display of what’s going on in and around the city.
The event itself was not only informative— but fun. From the corn hole tournaments goin’ down on the lawn to the seriously chill sailboats gliding by— the laid-back island setting, with the backdrop of the Detroit River, was beyond anything I had imagined. Add the Conners Creek Power Plant into the mix and it was as sublime a scene as that Pink Floyd Battersea Power Station album cover, “Animals.”
Architecture and Design firms are creating a ton of projects within the city of Detroit and beyond that incorporate redeveloping buildings and spaces into viable places for us to work, live and gather.
Organizations that participated in yesterday’s gallery of work included Detroit Future City, Michigan Historic Preservation Network, the City of Detroit’s Department of Planning & Development, DNR's Outdoor Adventure Center, KRM Architecture and SmithGroup JJR.
Some structures are completed— such as The Foundation Hotel, whose architects transformed an abandoned fire station into a boutique hotel and restaurant, while other projects— such as Ford’s Wagner Place, transforming a former hotel into a workspace and parking structure-- are underway.
This was perfect timing, as Ford formally announced its acquisition of Michigan Central Train Station only days ago. The corporation plans to renovate and eventually set up shop in the abandoned Beaux-Arts structure, an exciting announcement that means even more potential changes for the city in the near future.
Detroit Public Television produced a documentary that highlights the influence that Detroit architecture had on the world entitled "Detroit Designs the World." The piece premieres on DPTV this Saturday, June 9th at 5 pm.
The film traces the work and impact of architects Mies Van der Rohe, Minoru Yamasaki, Albert Kahn and Eero Saarinen and features renown buildings around Detroit- including the Highland Park Plant, Cranbrook, the Fisher Building and Lafayette Park.
The "Detroit Designs the World" reception + screening was held on the campus of Lawrence Technological University. After the preview, there was a panel discussion led by Olga Stella, the Executive Director of Design Core Detroit.
The discussion after the documentary focused on the city's unique architectural past, present and future.
The panel included Rainy Hamilton Jr., President, Owner and Principal of Hamilton Anderson, Robert Sandler from the Architectural firm Yamasaki Inc., and Professor of Architecture and Associate Department Chair of Architecture at Lawrence Tech, Dr. Dale Gyure.
Panelists discussed everything from Detroit's designation as a UNESCO City of Design, how the city's architectural works are still falling under the radar and how the architectural work previously coming out of Detroit was overshadowed by the auto industry.
There were some differing viewpoints, as Dr. Gyure noted that Michigan is starting to become a model in architecture for other states. It was stated that Detroit is becoming a leader in preservation.
The talk continued and touched upon how things in Detroit are coming together and the hope is that we don’t shift gears in regard to the vast amount of preservation that is going on in buildings around Detroit.
The city itself has an opportunity born out of a series of unique circumstances. Detroit fell apart and can be put back together again. The hope is that we don’t follow shiny new model of architecture where everything [buildings] is brand new. Because we don’t have to do that.
In closing, Mr. Hamilton said, "We are creating the next chapter. We have to figure it out and it's challenging."
We've got a chance to do something that nobody’s done before.
Standing on Albert Kahn's Shoulders
Toyota Lecture Series: Susan S. Szenasy | Metropolis Magazine, Director of Design Innovation
Skateboarding on the Fisher Halfpipe
Art in Detroit | A Sculptural Adventure
All images & text ©Nicole Wrona