by Jerry ElengicalSep 08, 2021
Now in its 11th edition, the Detroit Month of Design 2021 is scheduled to flood the streets of the ‘Motor City’ from September 1-30 with cultural programming that demonstrates Detroit’s position as a leading design capital in the United States. A citywide celebration of design and creativity, this year’s event brings together more than 150 participants to conduct over 80 events and special projects in its largest iteration till date. The festival is conducted by Design Core Detroit - an organisation under the city’s College for Creative Studies that supports design-driven businesses. A series of virtual and in-person events that include talks, workshops, exhibitions, installations, tours, and other immersive cross-disciplinary experiences over the course of the month of September, will draw attention to the abundance of creative talent and innovation pouring out from the city’s design scene.
Designated as a UNESCO City of Design back in 2015, Detroit has developed a unique identity with regards to its community voice and the diverse design practices that have cropped up within its bounds over the years. From the distinctive hand-crafted type found across the city’s wall murals, to its inclusive approach to solving design problems, Detroit’s inimitable voice is one that stands out.
Olga Stella, Director of Design Core Detroit, comments on the program for the upcoming event in a press release, stating: “For this year’s edition of Detroit Month of Design, we are proud and excited to present a calendar of compelling and enriching cultural experiences that showcase the tenacity and creativity that makes Detroit a UNESCO Design City.” She continues, “Through the generous support of sponsors, Rocket Companies and the William Davidson Foundation, we hope that the festival will attract a broader audience to familiarise themselves with the diverse set of creatives that make up Detroit's design community.”
Throughout the month of September, Design Core Detroit’s partners - ranging from established companies and institutions to emerging practices, will unite to showcase their latest creative endeavours at various locations citywide. After a year that has forced the entire world to reconfigure how we go about our daily lives, Detroit Month of Design will highlight the groundbreaking work being done by the city’s designers in addressing radical shifts imposed by this new normal. The curatorial committee for 2021 edition includes Garnette Archer of Jo’s Gallery, Kat Holmes of Mismatch.design, Laura Hughes - Interim Director at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Kayla Powers of Salt Textile Studios, Piper Carter - Creator and Editor-in-Chief of Studio Arena, and Adrian Tonon, Detroit’s 24-Hour Economy Ambassador.
Scheduled programming at the event includes Moments of Immersion, an experiential installation by independent Detroit-based artist, Yazmin Dababneh, which combines hypnotic sculptures and experimental film. Transforming digital documentations of physical sculptures and nature into mesmerising video presentations, Dababneh’s immersive installation reflects the manner by which distortions in perspectives mould an individual’s perception of reality. Additionally, NEXT:SPACE (an art gallery and contemporary furniture dealer), M Contemporary Art gallery, and Collector Anonymous (an art and design appraisal firm) have collaborated on Collecting by Design - an exhibition with a prominent visual narrative that emphasises the value of local art and design.
NEXT:SPACE has also partnered with Parini - a full service interior design studio based in Detroit, as well as Flor, on an interactive exhibit and workshop dubbed Palette Cleanser. The showcase will use five Parini-selected items from NEXT:SPACE’s catalogue of works by local artists, complemented by Flor’s floral installations, to offer insight into Parini’s own design process while promoting small, female-owned design enterprises based in Detroit. Korean-American artist Mike Han and photographer, Ryan Southen, along with architecture studio Synecdoche Design will present Discard Detroit - an exhibition centered on iconic pieces of mid-century modern furniture, such as Marcel Breuer’s Wassily Chair and the Barcelona Chair by Mies van Der Rohe and Lilly Reich.
On the workshop front, Detroit Denim Co. will be hosting a Sashiko Denim Repair Workshop focusing on the traditional embroidery technique of Sashiko, which has its roots in Japan. Furthermore, Whim Detroit - a technology partner and business innovation lab will host a 36-hour weekend hackathon from September 23-26, titled Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon, that will gather teams from various backgrounds under a common goal of devising new tech solutions. Students from the Fashion Merchandising and Design program at the Central Michigan University will also conduct the Fashion Future: Student Exhibition to illuminate concerns of diversity, equity, inclusion and sustainability in the realm of fashion design.
Casting the spotlight onto the thriving community of designers and artists pursuing their craft within Detroit, this year’s lineup of events at Detroit Month of Design will bring the city’s talent to a global audience once again, with enthralling experiences that can be enjoyed in-person or from the comfort of one’s own home.
The full schedule of events at Detroit Month of Design 2021 can be viewed here.