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Shinola watch company to add retail outlet in Washington, D.C.

Shinola, a manufacturer and retailer of watches and other high-end goods, is putting the shine on with its latest retail store.

Excerpt:

"Detroit-based Shinola continues to expand its retail presence beyond the Motor City, with a permanent, brick-and-mortar outlet reportedly in the works for the nation's capital.

The company, which makes watches in Detroit, in addition to crafting bikes, journals and leather goods at a variety of mostly-American locations, last month said it was opening shops in London, Los Angeles and Chicago...

Shinola had previously said it will have six brick-and-mortar stores once the Chicago one comes online in the Wicker Park-Bucktown neighborhood. Shinola’s flagship Detroit location is at 441 W. Canfield in Midtown, and the company also has stores in Manhattan and Minneapolis.

It also has a presence in Paris' ultra-trendy Colette shop and in the Abu Dhabi airport."

More here.

Forbes magazine spotlights business acumen of Fathead's CEO

Forbes recently profiled the CEO of Detroit-based Fathead, a leading national supplier of life-sized vinyl wall graphics.

Excerpt: 

"The ‘Core-Trust-Loyalty’ belief system has remained with McInnis over the past five years as Fathead recently  shifted from sports-specific offerings to being a lifestyle consumer company. Now, as the company’s leader, part of McInnis’ role is that of a “psychologist,” somebody who understands the makeup and personality of the senior leadership team and, in turn, can motivate people in different ways."

More here.

Cooley Law School building is one of world's most impressive

A rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, low flow plumbing and other eco-focused features has landed Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills at #35 on the list of the most impressive law school buildings in the world, according to Best Choice Schools.

Excerpt:

"Established in 1972 in Lansing, Michigan, the institution’s Auburn Hills campus recently received LEED Silver certification. Renovations to the existing structure and an additional 64,000 square feet were designed by SHW Group architects and engineers, and include a green roof, rainwater-harvesting system, low flow plumbing, and an energy efficient lighting system."

More here

 

Detroit Custom Coach outfits food trucks, vans, and limos with new interiors

Here's a company on a roll outfitting coaches with luxe new interior swag.

Excerpt:

"As the owner of  Detroit Custom Coach LLC, he knows a few things about building out food trucks. For the past four years, he's been fabricating custom food trucks — such as the newly finished  Eskimo Jacks  ice cream sandwich mobile — as well as turning limos and vans into rolling dens of luxury...

It's a good line of work that allowed Ramos to turn former competitors into clients. His first business was a shuttle service called  Night Moves Transportation. But when Ramos realized he could charge more to rent a party bus, he decided to build one...

Recently a client hired DCC to turn a van into a rolling humidor, complete with high-end TVs and sound system. And while that was a big job, the most extravagant vehicle in DCC's portfolio is a custom project for  Jim Beam.The bourbon distiller wanted the passenger shuttle running at its distillery in Clermont, Ky., to look like an old 1930s truck delivering barrels."

More here.

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.

Orange County Chopper for sale

Wanna buy an Orange County Chopper? No? What if it was for a good cause?

Excerpt:

On Saturday, November 17, 2007, the “Big Blue” Bike made its debut during half time at the UM – Ohio State game.  Mikey and Paulie Teutul of Orange County Choppers and stars of the popular TLC's American Chopper® presented the custom-made motorcycle ... “Big Blue” will be auctioned off to the highest bidder along with a tailgate party for 10-20 people at a UM home game of their choice sponsored by Domino’s Pizza.  All proceeds from the auction will benefit the new U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital building campaign.

Read more here.

Creative companies asked to participate in regional survey

Creativity? Oh, we've got it, all right. Anyone who knows the metro area knows our downtowns and side streets are bustling with stores that are part of the creative economy, from local fashion designers to graphic artists to Web specialists. Detroit Renaissance and Crain's Detroit Business are trying to survey southeast Michigan's creative economy.

Excerpt:

The creative economy can be a foundation for economic development. But to grow existing companies and attract new creative-economy companies, Southeast Michigan has to show the world – and its own business population – the creative talent that lives here.

Read the entire article here.

Adcraft Club honors creatives in The D on Nov. 28

The Adcraft Club of Detroit will honor the community's advertising and marketing professionals with "The D Show," scheduled for 6- 11 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit.

Excerpt:

Now more than ever, we are seeing a convergence of Media, Creative, and Entertainment and Production. Now is the perfect time to bring these communities together.  To that end, we have formed a council of agency, media, digital and production company representatives to recognize, each year, what is truly the best of our industrial strength ideas. We will be a sub-committee of Adcraft, which will handle the administration of the Council and The D Show.


Read about details here.

Local 'design superstars' share their concepts this evening

At a wine and cheese reception this evening at the Garden Court Condominiums in Detroit's New Center, twelve design concepts will be presented. Attendees can vote on their favorite scheme -- the winner will be named Detroit's Design Superstar.

Find out more and check out the designs here.

LTU "off the grid" house on display in DC

Lawrence Technological University is one of 20 schools from around the United State in Europe competing in the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC this week. Each team had to build a home that was completely self-sufficient, or off-the-grid.

Excerpt:

"We want our house to be a stage for educating homebuyers about the possibilities for dramatically decreasing the carbon footprint of their homes," said team member Christina Span, who graduated from Lawrence Tech in May with a degree in architecture. "Making homes more energy-efficient is the single biggest thing we can do as a country to reduce our country's energy consumption and reliance on foreign oil."

Taken together, these 20 houses represent many of the best ideas for changing America's perception of housing. The structures demonstrate how pleasant it can be to live in a relatively small but well-designed space. The contest requires houses to be 800 square feet or less, and in most of the houses the actual living space is well under 700 square feet.

Read the entire article here.

Ann Arbor design store makes its way to Detroit

Modern design store Mezzanine, once a mainstay of Ann Arbor, has re-opened in downtown Detroit.

Excerpt:

Being a city guy himself, Posch adds that being in Detroit "weeds out the assholes. My customers are educated, cosmopolitan, and they're not afraid to come to the city."

And, frankly, Detroit is a design city. The score may be familiar, but to tally it up again: We have a renowned art school (College for Creative Studies), a history of making beautiful objects (cool cars), and amazing architecture (need we say more). There's an appreciation for lovely things, and cool objects, here that shouldn't be overlooked.

Read the entire article here.

New director takes over helms of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Michael Hodges interviews the new director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Reed Kroloff, who brings an impressive resume and great excitement to his new position.

Excerpt:

Where do you see Cranbrook in 10 years?

In an odd way, I'd like it to be where it was 50 years ago, or last year -- which is at the forefront of each of the disciplines we teach.

And I would like people to think of us first when they think art and design.

We use the word "unique" too often in contemporary society, but Cranbrook really isunique. There just isn't anything else like it.

Read the entire article here.



High school robotics competition returns to Oakland County

The Oakland County Competitive Robotics Competition pits high schoolers against one another in the design and assembly of robots.

Excerpt:

OCCRA generates enthusiasm for technical and academic disciplines such as design, engineering, physics, and electronics. These competitions provide recognition and encouragement for students who devote their energies to these areas of studies. OCCRA participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about the diverse technical career options available in our county and state.

Read the entire article here.

Automation Alley added 39 members in January

39 new members joined Automation Alley, the tech trade group based in Troy, in the month of January - a single month record for the organization.

The sectors with the biggest gains were IT, with 15 new members and manufacturing, with six.

Read the entire article here.

Local online company markets conscience capitalism

Nev Muftari, a local entrepreneur, has launched a on-line “cause-marketing” company that will promote products sold for the benefit of a non-profit agency. The company, idUnited, is currently selling hooded sweatshirts screen-printed with designs by two local artists. 25% of the sale of each sweatshirt will benefit Woodbridge’s 555 Gallery/Studio.

The designs, both printed on American Apparel sweatshirts, are adaptations and enhancements of the classic Old English D. The girl’s hoody was designed by local artist AJ Brackel and the guy’s by Wayne State University student Ric Breeze. idUnited will sell the sweatshirts, priced at $31 and $48 respectively, only until the end of Feb.

A tee-shirt version of the female design will be featured in Six Degrees Magazine in the month of March.

Muftari says that, in the future, what his site markets “may or may not be clothing” and agencies supported “may not always be in Detroit.” He is particularly interested in the issue of access to drinkable water in developing nations.

Source: Nev Muftari, idUnited
Image courtesy idUnited


$400,000 awarded to arts community to establish Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan

The Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan has received $400,000 in start-up funding from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan along with the McGregor Fund and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The Alliance will work to increase collaborations between and visibility of arts and cultural organizations in the seven-county SEMCOG region.

The Cultural Alliance will represent the arts and culture community in regional planning efforts and will market the programs and amenities of member organizations to a diverse group of audiences.

The chairman of the Cultural Alliance’s board will be Steven K. Hamp, former president of The Henry Ford and Chief of Staff of Ford Motor Co. “The Cultural Alliance represents a new era for the arts and culture in our region,” he said in a release. “It embraces all dimensions of the cultural community: performing arts, visual arts, history and historic preservation, community cultural activities, arts education, science and nature, libraries and literature. Our goal is to foster innovation and creativity and enable our many and diverse cultural resources to contribute more dynamically to the people and communities of southeastern Michigan.”

All participating parties stress the Alliance’s inclusiveness, as organizations both big and small, fledgling and established, will have access to the collective’s resources and expertise.

More than 60 organizations from across all seven counties participated in an 18-month planning process to develop the Cultural Alliance, and several hundred will be invited to participate.

Source: CFSEM
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


Creative Peoples Network brings together local artists across genres

Model D and metromode photographer Dave Krieger will be one of the artists featured in Exhibit 1. put on by Creative Peoples Network on Jan. 27 at Cass Café. The reception will be held from 7-10 pm and will also showcase Phaedra Robinson, Amanda Coggin, Matthew Craven, Scott Humphrey, Erin Aube and John Azoni.

Go to www.modeldmedia.com for the full story. And read Model D each Tuesday for more interesting happenings going on in the city.


UM grad student documentary sheds insight into downtowns

Kirk Wesphal, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan's Master of Urban Planning program, has made a documentary about the magical mix of ingredients that makes a downtown vibrant.

Watch the video here.

Concrete floors are local artist's canvas

West Bloomfield artist Lou DeCillis specializes in colorful and dramatic concrete floors. His work can be seen is stores and homes all over Metro Detroit.

Excerpt:

DeCillis also created the dramatic floor design spanning almost the entire Holocaust Memorial Center on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills and the basement floor of Novi artist Darci Deneau.

Her basement took first place in the 2004 Better Homes and Gardens National Search for the Best Indoor Entertainment Space.


Learn more about DeCillis at his website.

Read the entire article here.

Troll the show with these 'autoextremists'

Jalopnik is madly obsessed with cars.

Check out all that's hot at Detroit's North American International Auto Show with this bunch of "autoextremists" via their blog.

Allow their obsession to work for you. They pretty much photograph everything but they don't talk too much, and their Auto Show mini-site is really easy to navigate.

Go to http://tags.jalopnik.com/cars/detroit-auto-show/


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