The 12 annual Detroit Month of Design will take place throughout the month of September and will feature more than over 80 events, including exhibitions, installations, workshops, talks, and tours.
Detroit Month of Design is an annual citywide collaboration of creativity that gathers designers and the greater community to celebrate Detroit’s role as a national and global design capital.
Every September, partners across Detroit — from emerging studios to established companies and educational institutions — come together to show off their latest works and ideas. These cross-disciplinary events take place across the city, highlighting the talent and innovation that makes Detroit a UNESCO City of Design.
In addition, events will take place across the region at indoor, outdoor, and virtual venues, according to Design Core Detroit.
This year, Detroit Month of Design’s programming centers design strategies with the capacity to strengthen community resources and mutual aid. Focused on the theme of unity, this iteration will
seek to uplift our interdependence so a more collaborative and accessible world can emerge.
Design Core Detroit sees designers as key players in cultivating unity and interdependence within communities. As such, this year celebrates all facets of design — from the urban planning and landscape decisions that frame our cities and lives to the fashion, furniture designers, and artists.
“As we put together this year’s offerings, it became clear that Detroiters design differently and have since the turn of the 20th century” says Kiana Wenzell, co-executive director of Design Core Detroit. “We are a Midwestern city with a very particular history and geography, which creates the perfect catalyst for an innovative approach to design.
“This has allowed us to have hyperlocal impact with global influence. Through the generous support of this year’s title sponsor, William Davidson Foundation, our goal is to provide a platform for Detroit’s great design thinkers to converge and for the public to experience the transformative role design plays in their lives.”
Though Detroit Month of Design is co-created with local designers, curators, and organizations, Design Core Detroit will produce and host several key events including Eastern Market After Dark (EMAD). A staple in the month’s lineup, EMAD will return with a district-wide night market and open-studio featuring multiple galleries, retailers, brand activations, music, and more due to the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
“Detroit has been and continues to be one of the great design cities in the world. Detroit Month of Design highlights and underscores the brilliance coming out of our city and the people who push the boundaries and move us forward,” says Nate Wallace, Director of Knight Foundation Detroit.
Additional events produced by Design Core Detroit include:
- Design Jam, a two-day challenge that invites participants to prototype new adaptive products for recreational athletes with limb differences.
- Shop and See, a partnership between Design Core and Bedrock pairs local designers with downtown shops to exhibit their work, drive traffic to the stores, and give people a chance to “See” and “Shop” from the collection of downtown Detroit businesses and
makers. The collaboration will showcase entrepreneurship, create conversation, and foster stronger relationships between the public, retailers and creatives.
- Shop Downtown Detroit, a one-day shopping event and experience to support downtown Detroit retails and local designers. The event will feature in-store demonstrations, live music and creative experiences.
- Sneaker House, presented by Foot Locker in collaboration with Design Core, will showcase four installations and programming that celebrates sneaker culture. The activation will include dynamic displays and artwork by local creatives. Detroit Month of Design will highlight key players from Detroit’s design history while also shedding light on the city’s future and emerging talent. As the USA’s only UNESCO-designated Design City, Detroit models the future-facing creative potential of post-industrial cities. Additionalevent highlights include:
- Mobility, Art, and Design, an exhibition produced by the College for Creative Studies, will highlight careers in mobility through a curated exhibit featuring up and coming student work related to Transportation.
- Cranbrook Academy of Art — where Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll and Eero Saarinen led American Modernism — will present an exhibition of newly designed chairs at the First National Building.
- On the Avenue of Fashion, which runs through one of Detroit’s most prestigious neighborhoods, a collection of Black-owned businesses will produce “Art on the Avenue,” a collaborative effort between design businesses on Livernois from Six Mile to Eight Mile.
- Month of Design will include a multi-media exhibition celebrating Gucci’s Changemakers initiative. Since 2019, Gucci has found a natural alignment with Detroit and its pervasive culture. Additionally, Gucci will open its new location in downtown Detroit.
- The Black Footwear Forum is produced by Pensole Lewis College of Business and Design. The forum will gather footwear industry professionals and aficionados for three days to engage in dialogue around the influence, leadership and passion provided by the Black community in the global footwear industry. The forum will establish goals around the development of Black talent at all levels in the industry. Nike recently Invested $3 Million in the College to build a diverse pipeline of footwear design talent, situating Detroit as a new hub for the industry.
- MarxModa Presents: Michael Ford – The Hip-Hop Architect, Michael Ford teams with MarxModa to bring the Hip Hop Architecture Exhibit, youth camp, and public lecture to Detroit during The Month of Design. The mixed media exhibit will feature photos and music videos from The Hip Hop Architecture Camp, 3-D printed architectural models inspired by Hip Hop culture, The Making of The Universal Hip Hop Museum in The Bronx, and more.
- Through a talk and exhibition of photos and other memorabilia, Live6 Alliance along with Kresge Foundation will honor the legacy of the Hawkins Family. The family founded the historic Hawkins Apparel, the first Black-owned women’s apparel Store in Detroit.
- Stanley Hong’s Mannia Cafe, one of Detroit’s most unique architectural designs and one of the few remaining buildings of the city’s Chinese-American community, will become Stanley’s Electric Night Market. The event will include immersive projection-mapping on the facade of the building and Night Market in its parking lot, honoring the location’s legacy and connection to immigrant stories
- Detroit’s premier design gallery, I.M. Weiss Gallery (formerly known as Next:Space) will host an exhibition of five artists and designers working across woodworking.
- Wasserman Projects will present an exhibition by Sanford Biggers, Brandon Clifford, and Jo Lobdell.
- The Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center will foster dialogue between the city’s tight-knit fashion community.
- Design Core Detroit Co-executive Directors Kiana Wenzell and Bonnie Fahoome are co-curators of Craft in the Digital Age, an exhibition presented at the Ford House that will create a dialogue between technologically-produced and inspired design and the
traditional Ford House collection. This exhibit features the work of contemporary Detroit-area artists and designers staged throughout the rooms in the main residence of Ford House — Edsel and Eleanor Ford’s historic lakeside home in Grosse Pointe Shores.
Detroit Month of Design By the Numbers
– 175 Participants – 14 Experiences
– 74 Events
– 18 Exhibitions
– 8 Tours
– 10 Installations
– 4 Youth and Family events
– 4 Talks
– 4 Workshops
Design Core Detroit champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy. It offers services to strengthen, grow and attract design businesses, increase market demand for design services and tells Detroit’s design story locally and globally. Design Core is the steward of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation and is part of the College for Creative Studies.
For more information, visit www.designcore.org.
This September also marks the start of the first ever collaboration between the Consulate of Italy and the Detroit Month of Design — a 30-day exhibition filling the large lobby of the 1001 Woodward Ave., adjacent to Campus Martius Park. For more information, visit https://www.loveitdetroit.com/.