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30 Design Articles | Page: | Show All

Detroit-based Shinola founder talks "American made" with Wall St. Journal

Cars aside, watches and bikes are the new big-ticket "Made in Detroit" items. 

Excerpt:

"Not many people would relish the chance to pack up a sunny Southern California life and move to Detroit. But Daniel Caudill, the creative director of Shinola—a manufacturer of watches, bicycles, leather goods and more—has so much in common with the upstart company that he did it gladly. Raised in rural Montana, Mr. Caudill likes a good heritage back-story, and Shinola, a once-iconic shoe-polish brand that became a punch line (as in "You don't know s—from…") in World War II, has one."

More here.

Detroit-based Door Stops designers get national attention for "public furniture"

While "public art" has made it into the everyday lexicon, how about "public furniture?" 

Excerpt:

"Made from old doors salvaged from destroyed properties, the shelters are colorfully painted to put a smile on the faces of folks in the vicinity. (Not that you could tell it from the above photo – maybe the bus is running late?) The first of the stops went out into the city  late last year; today, the A' Design Award & Competition announced that it is gifting the effort with a silver medal in "Social Design."

More here.

Detroit watchmaker Shinola makes the big time

Will a Detroit-made Shinola become the new Rolex? Time will tell.

Excerpt:

"Three years ago, in autumn 2010, a small group of businessmen, consisting of watch industry stalwarts from Swiss movement manufacturer Ronda and strategic developers from Dallas-based  Bedrock Brands, came together to discuss the possibility of regenerating the long-defunct U.S. watch industry. What emerged was the Shinola watch factory, which established itself on the fifth floor of Detroit's College for Creative Studies.

According to its CEO, Steve Bock: "We are not doing this out of philanthropy, we chose to come to Detroit for practical business reasons. It is a city of heritage and of global recognition—just look at what has come out of Detroit—the motor industry, World War II manufacturing, and music. Craftsmanship and a first-rate work ethic emanate from the city."

More here.

Superfly Kids finds flyaway success with superhero capes business

What started as a sewing hobby has achieved liftoff for a pair of intrepid entrepreneurs in Livonia.

Excerpt:

"...one Michigan company is moving faster than a speeding bullet — by  selling superhero capes.

Livonia-based Superfly Kids makes and sells capes — custom capes, to be exact — for kids and a few adults. And their sales have taken off like, well, Superman.

From 2010 to this year, the company, owned by Holly Bartman and Justin Draplin, has seen its revenues leap from about $260,000 to an estimated $2.4 million. They are expected to double next year."

More here.

At Maker Faire, anything flies

A Cloud Bean, an X-Wing, and a dining-table sized version of the Operation game were just a few of the don't-miss attractions at last weekend's Maker Faire at the Henry Ford. But if you did miss it, check out these cool images.

Popular Mechanics gazes into crystal ball, sees an amazing 2025 Detroit

You have to like an article that starts with "Detroit's comeback is not only inevitable, it's already underway." Makes you want to read more doesn't it? It's view of water and landscape is the stuff that dreams are made of.
 
Excerpt:
 
"Reemerging waterways and feral forests claim land left open by sharp population decline. Detroit goes green with planning that takes advantage of the city's unique ecology."
 
Read the rest here.
 

Detroit Auto Show's concept cars get thumbs up for design

Let's face it, checking out the new models can be informative but it's the concept cars that rule. DesignNews offers up 17 cool as a cucumber shots of concepts cars worth salivating over from January's auto show.


Personally, we're impressed with how cool Chrysler made a mini van look.

Check out Captain Hybrid's faves here.

Metro Detroit's creative community gets its own incubator

In the rush to create new economy jobs in metro Detroit the talk has mostly centered around incentives and support for engineering, life sciences, green energy, and computer technology. But building a creative class is more than hot on the job market front.

Enter Detroit's new Creative Ventures Acceleration Program, an incubator oriented toward design, film, music, and social media. And it's getting national attention.

Excerpt:

"The Creative Ventures Acceleration Program offers local entrepreneurs access to resources, services, strategic counseling, development support and other services that seek to "increase the density of creative-sector businesses in the downtown area," according to the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, a business accelerator that developed the program.

Backed by $500,000 in funding by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the U.S. Small Business Administration, among other groups, the program features a 12-month curriculum for "ventures-in-residence" to better identify development goals and best practices."

Get the rest of the story here.

Detroit blogger uncovers modern living in St. Clair Shores

Detroit's modern living boutique Mezzanine blogs about a modern living oasis in St. Clair Shores.

Excerpt:

An influx of young Dwell magazine-reading families could really make this neighborhood of starter homes a hot little modern gem - a bookend for the more traditional Cabbage Patch neighborhood at the southern border of Grosse Pointe.  The price is right on these places - my pics were taken last fall, BEFORE the market bottomed out - when they were going for a little over $100k typically, and a fixer upper was priced as above.  And they're all in walking, and certainly biking, distance from some great shops and restaurants on Mack Avenue, including Josef's bakery and Merchant's Wines.

With a little elbow grease to un-DIY some of the design mistakes, and a few more Mini Coopers in the driveways, this neighborhood could be out-of-control cool.

Read the entire article here.

Detroit has the talent, it's time to unleash it

So, a group in Detroit is planning to bring in 1000 creative jobs. Tim Smith, president of Skidmore - a Royal Oak design firm - writes in the Detroit Free press that it's not always about the jobs but the actual work. Keep the work in mind when filling these 1000 jobs.

Excerpt:

Give a creative soul a challenging assignment, mix in the knowledge that the client is willing to take a risk and get outside the "safe" zone of pedestrian thinking and you will have a stampede of creative people. And here's a real surprise for you: Detroit already has world-class creative talent. If you want other creative talent to join them, we must unleash the talent we have. Let the world see our talent.

And if we really want to unleash that talent, here's an assignment for General Motors Corp. Chief Executive Rick Wagoner and other CEOs in the region. Find the mobile phone number of your chief marketing officer, marketing director, advertising manager or communications director and ask: "Who do we use for our key creative thinking and execution, and where are their offices located?"

Read the entire article here.


Gm Volt design takes shape

GM's lithium-ion battery powered car, the Volt, is moving right along. They've nailed down a design that looks a lot like their concept they showed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

GM will also start road testing a vehicle equipped with the lithium-ion battery slated for the Volt. GM wants the battery to run for at least 150,000 miles, last 10 years, and provide sufficient vehicle acceleration.

The Volt's production is expected to begin by November 2010 in Hamtramck's old Poletown plant.

Excerpt:

Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, told reporters this week that the vehicle’s design has been finalized and that its styling will be close but not identical to the concept.

GM is racing to prepare the Volt for launch by November 2010 -- ahead of archirival Toyota Motor Corp.'s own plug-in vehicle, slated to debut the same vehicle.

The Volt will be powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be partially recharged by a small combustion engine.

Read the entire article here.

Keepin' tabs on the artists

Stand up and be counted if you're an artist in Washtenaw County. Well, actually, it's more like sit down, fill out a survey, and be counted. Between April 1 and May 17 the Washtenaw County Arts Alliance will launch an Artists' Census. The census will become part of the Arts Alliance's cultural plan for the county. They are urging everyone to participate. Who knows, maybe you'll find out you're an artist - and you just never knew it.

Excerpt:

"Artists are the creative DNA of Washtenaw County, and provide the spark that makes our region such a great place to live," Tamara Real, Director of the Arts Alliance, said in a press release.

Real said the census would aid in building "visibility and credibility" of several artists in the community.

"It's easy to know how many arts organizations are in the country, but individual artists are often over looked."

Read the entire article here.

The future may start with a go-kart

Lawrence Tech is participating in something that takes Formula-1 racing to the next level - albeit a smaller, futuristic level. It's called Formula Zero, it's an international zero-emissions race using hydrogen fuel cells strapped to go-karts.

The Lawrence Tech team, Element One, qualified for the competition in August in Rotterdam. The design of their hydrogen-powered zinger - inspired by F-22 and F-35 fighter planes - also took first place in design.

Excerpt:

Formula Zero’s purpose is to use a racing competition to publicize the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to provide a zero-emission solution for transportation. The Formula Zero Championship, Student Edition, was created under the guidance of the Alternative Energies Commission of the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile, the worldwide governing body of major motor sports series. The long-term goal is to create a racing competition with full-scale race cars.

The university teams will be competing in smaller, essentially go-kart-sized versions that are capable of reaching 70 mph. The student teams had to design a kart with room for the driver as well as the fuel-cell package, a hydrogen tank, an electric motor and capacitors to provide rapid acceleration.

Read the entire article here.

World's 50 most innovated companies - Michigan snatches two

Fast Company hit the streets to find some of the most inventive, innovated and intriguing companies around. Two of Michigan's own were tacked to the list. Google, of course, made tops. Herman Miller fell in at 26th.

Excerpt:

Fast Company slotted Zeeland-based Herman Miller at 26th in its "World's 50 Most Innovative Companies" in the March issue out now. Google, with its AdWords outfit based in Ann Arbor, earned the top spot among the league of global superstars that also included Facebook, Apple, Disney, Nike and HP.

Read the entire article here.

Ypsilanti-based VGKids growing up, to go national

Ok, so maybe James Marks isn't growing up, but his company is. VGKids, an Ypsilanti-based screen printing business that has grown 150 percent in the last year, is dropping in on the West Coast.

Marks recently opened a satellite space in Oakland, Calif., to hasten the shipping times of his numerous orders west of the Mighty Mississippi. This is first spot outside of Michigan, but Marks has his eye on 13 more locations around the Nation.

Excerpt:

He moved to  converted office space in Ypsilanti on Pearl Street and later to 4,000 square feet of space on West Michigan Avenue, which he maintains for production.

While alternative markets are his niche, he's attracting more mainstream business from the likes of the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University.

"The company brings energy to Ypsilanti," Marks said. "As we get larger, we'll continue to have a commitment to Ypsilanti. The plan from day one was to be a national company with Ypsilanti as its home."

Read the entire article here.
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