DETROIT — The third-annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF), presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), will put Detroit’s creative community on display Sept. 18 to 22. This year’s DDF will feature 60 events hosted in neighborhoods across Detroit. The festival will connect 300 designers and creative practitioners with new markets and more than 15,000 consumers in five days. The festival was created by DC3 in 2011 as a vehicle to position Detroit as a global center for independent design and creative innovation.
“Detroit has gained a reputation internationally as a hub for creative talent,” says Matthew Clayson, DC3’s director. “The Detroit Design Festival is a celebration of the region’s best independent designers and provides them a platform to showcase their work. Design enthusiasts and buyers really enjoy the festival because they have access to our region’s top talent, all at once.”
Featuring dozens of design installations, shows, previews, performances and workshops, the DDF will take place at venues along Detroit’s Creative Corridor, from Downtown Detroit to New Center, and in various neighborhoods throughout Detroit, including Eastern Market.
Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion — home of the world’s oldest jazz club, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge — and its revitalization will also play a central role in this year’s festival. Funded by a $200,000 ArtPlace grant, Revolve Detroit has called upon local artists, designers, architects, and entrepreneurs to revive this former shopper’s haven. During the DDF, Revolve will reveal initial plans for the area – new retail stores will be unveiled, vacant storefront windows will feature art installations, large murals will decorate buildings, facades will be illuminated, public courtyards and medians will don sculptures, performances and parties for Detroit’s most fashion-forward crowd.
“We’re setting out to become the key festival for independent designers in North America,” says Melinda Anderson, DC3 engagement manager. “Our team and our advisors have visited other major design festivals across the world to garner ideas for DDF and to help elevate the international dialogue about good design happening in Detroit,” she explains. “We are so eager to release the festival’s full schedule, including lists of designers, venues and events. This will be our most exciting year yet.”
Highlights slated for this year’s DDF include:
- Tues., Sept. 17: The Detroit Design Festival official launch party takes place from 6-10 p.m. at the historic Argonaut building, now called the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. This event is free and open to the public.
- Wed., Sept. 18: The Toyota Lecture Series will kick-off DDF at 6:30 p.m. (on the 11th floor of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education) with advertising design legend Art Fitzpatrick. This event is free and open to the public.
- Thurs., Sept. 19: Eastern Market after Dark returns from 7-11 p.m. This self-guided evening tour is a once-a-year opportunity for guests a to explore more than 40 shops in the market after dark (2934 Russell Street) This DDF event is free and open to the public.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit Chapter presents Architecture After Dark that will recognize projects, local architects and individuals who have positively impacted the design profession at its annual Honor Awards program. This year’s event will be held from 7-11 p.m. in Shed 3 at Eastern Market. Tickets are $35 ($15 with student ID) and admission is free after 9 p.m.
The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, part of the 2013 Reva Stocker Taubman Lecture series, debuts at 7 & 9:30 p.m. at the DIA’s Detroit Film Theater (5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202). This new “live documentary” by Academy Award-nominated director Sam Green (The Weather Underground) features a live score by the legendary indie rock band Yo La Tengo. Ticketing information is forthcoming.
- Fri., Sept. 20: Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion (Livernois and 7 Mile, west of Woodward) is revealed before Detroit’s most fashion-forward crowd. Revolve Detroit is transforming 10 spaces that will be designed by national and international artists and entrepreneurs.
- Sat., Sept. 21: Design in Motion (DIM) will showcase underground Detroit design featuring a customized car show and a graffiti Sketch battle. Starting at 10 a.m. at the 4731 Gallery on Grand River, the daylong event that will continue until 10 p.m. with DJs, a dance battle and cocktails. Tickets are $10.
- Sun., Sept. 22: Lafayette Park: Guided Walking Tours starting at 11 a.m. will celebrate Michigan modernism where attendees will get an insider’s view of Lafayette Park, which is part of the Mies van der Rohe Residential District listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Ticketing information is forthcoming.
More than 160 design events took place, attracting more than 25,000 attendees to several Detroit neighborhoods. Seventy-five venues throughout the city were activated for fashion shows, lectures, installations, exhibitions, pop-up retail and other activities. An independent study conducted by researchers at London’s Victoria Albert Museum revealed many participating businesses recorded revenue spikes during the 2012 Detroit Design Festival.