by Almas SadiqueJul 28, 2022
Design Core Detroit has served the design-driven industries as a creative platform for over a decade. Formerly known as Detroit Creative Corridor (DC3), the creative organisation continues to aid the advancement of Detroit’s UNESCO city of design designation through multi-faceted disciplines. Bringing in the 12th iteration of the Detroit Month of Design, Design Core colours the 'City of Straits' with a month-long commemoration of design through exhibitions, design installations, workshops, talks and tours. The event started on September 1 and continues till September 30, 2022, taking place across several locations in Detroit, United States, and into the surrounding metro areas through physical and virtual venues. "As we put together this year's offerings, it became clear that Detroiters design differently and have since the turn of the 20th century,” said 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 a hyperlocal impact with global influence," she added.
The design fair sees the sponsored support of the William Davidson Foundation and is co-created with local designers, curators and organisations, hosting over 80 events woven around the theme 'United by Design’. The month-long design event aims at cross-pollinating different design disciplines with a focus on a more collaborative and accessible world. Designers, as per Design Core Detroit, are key stakeholders in encouraging social harmony and reliance. This year's edition honours all facets of design, from urban planning and landscape considerations that shape our cities and lives to fashion, furniture, and artist-designers that influence our cultural attitudes and aesthetic sensibilities. A staple in the month’s lineup, EMAD (Eastern Market After Dark) returns after a two-year gap with a district-wide night market and open studio, featuring multiple galleries, retailers, brand activations, music and more, thanks 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," said Nate Wallace, Director of Knight Foundation Detroit, Michigan .
Among the ongoing events is I.M. Weiss Gallery’s exhibition Perspectives in Contemporary Woodworking, focusing on the nuances on the quintessential wood craft discipline. The design exhibition features an assortment of wooden objects by different artists adapting various modes of woodworking with cultural and aesthetic variations. It surveys contemporary practices and unique perspectives of designers including Breanne Johnson, Dawson Moore, Seth Keller and Forrest Hudes’ Studio Shmudio. Additionally, the design month also hosted a garden party and a sound performance using Whoop House, a solar-powered sound sculpture that doubles as a musical instrument to explore and uplift environmental themes within African diasporan music. Led by Ash Arder, a transdisciplinary artist, Solar Juke was an art party that focused on climatic and social justice frameworks.
Furthermore, spearheaded by a mix of culture and fibre, another exciting exhibition that championed through the Month of Design at the Playground in Detroit is Markings. The solo exhibition by Julian J Jones, displayed quilted, gestural abstraction artwork and compositions inspired by traditional African American quilting. The term "mark" has many connotations: his artworks encode his experiences as a Black guy, as well as the emotional effect of his upbringing. To link his associations, the show matches a range of abstract gestural oil pastel drawings with lively abstract quilts, enabling access to his process, which involves craft, composition, colour theory, and textile design. His work embraces and includes an aggressive mixture of colours, shapes, and forms created from pure creative intuition that bypasses viewers' critical capabilities to open up a discourse about his Black experience by merging unique textiles with solid materials.
Detroit, during the vibrant month of design, also witnessed a collaborative exhibition LoveITDetroit, an active design, architectural and innovation-focused exhibition presented by the Consulate of Italy. It has been 30 days of unrestrained exploration, displaying and demonstrating the works of some of the most significant Italian and Detroit-based industry leaders, as well as innovative topics, in a spectacular physical space conceived by famous Italian architect and designer, Roberto Palomba, ps+A. LoveITDetroit also festooned the metaverse in a digital display. The exhibition is a collaboration between Design Month of Detroit, NAIAS, Detroit Jazz Festival and DIelectricity.
Chairing a spectacle throughout the month of September, many different artists and designers pursuing their craft in Detroit worked a wonderful lineup for this year's Detroit Month of Design. The talent residing with the design city was opened up to a global audience to witness it through in-person and virtual events.