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Amid the thriving art landscape of Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, where almost every other building has a vibrant mural painted on it, Dutch firm MVRDV is designing an office and retail complex as a tribute to this farmers market and food hub's character.
Sitting at the intersection of Russell and Division Street, the project titled 'Glass Mural' will replace an existing two-storey brick building while redeeming its original artwork by local mural artist DENIAL. The new architecture will incorporate not only DENIAL's 100 ft x 35 ft work but will also include an additional mural by artist Sheefy McFly.
MVRDV’s intervention outlines 'recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new canvas made of glass', enlarging and stretching it across all four sides of the Glass Mural building. Art replicated as colourfully printed glass façade seeks to interact with the spirit of the market where every year artists from across the world throng its streets and paint it in dreamy hues during the Murals in the Market festival.
The idea of a translucent envelope expresses a keen observation. "Our decision to use glass is practical, as it allows us to incorporate windows to become a part of the artwork, not an obstacle for artists to work around,” says MVRDV founding partner Winy Mass.
The design of the 40,000 sqft complex features two primary stacked blocks with shifting volumes; its proportions, as per Mass, connect to the human scale of the Eastern Market. While the ground level defines retail storefront, the above three stories are for offices. A third block will accommodate circulation cores and a roof deck for building occupants.
While DENIAL and McFly’s works will be carried on a block each, the third one will feature a 'flat façade finish' to create an ever-changing canvas for other artists.
The glass façade fusing the vibrant art will be a product of digital ceramic printing – a technology that the Netherlands-based firm has previously employed in their 2013 project from the Dutch village of Schijndel in which an image of a local farmhouse was replicated onto its glazed exterior.
MRVDV’s selection to carry out the design of Glass Mural is a result of a collaborative effort between the client FIRM Real Estate and Architecture Talent Agency, a Detroit-based company that represents international architecture and design firms for commission of new projects. While the first stage of the design development concluded this September, the construction is slated to begin next year.
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