September has been named as the ‘Month of Art and Design’ in Detroit by Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), Detroit Design 139, DLECTRICITY and Murals in the Market who are collaborating to celebrate creativity. These special exhibits and festivals will bring together designers, architects, artists and enthusiasts to honor Detroit’s role as a national and global design capital.

“Being a UNESCO City of Design is an invaluable opportunity and reflects our community’s dedication in positioning Detroit as a global center of creativity and innovation,” said Olga Stella, executive director of DC3. “Together with our partners, we are not only promoting Detroit as a design hub but also showcasing how creative industries can spur economic development and drive both social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.” [DLECRICITY website]

Design is Everywhere. It’s an integral part of our lives, and often goes unnoticed. The most common products and services invisibly integrate themselves into our lives in a helpful, intuitive, and human-centred way. If we focus on using a design-based approach to solve some of Detroit’s most pressing issues today, the possibility for Detroit’s residence to live in a sustainable and equitable future are endless. [Detroit Design Festival website]

From September 26th-30th the Detroit Detroit Festival features events and experiences highlighting talent and innovation in Detroit’s creative community; offer stunning artistic experiences; and share the Detroit story with national and international audiences. There are more than 365 designers and 55 events happening throughout the entire month.

The 2017 Detroit Design Festival focuses on how design in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and the products and services we use everyday can impact the way society functions and the way people experience the world around them.

Read on for our top picks for events happening during the week-long festival programming that you do not want to miss!

Tuesday, Sept. 26th

The Art of Play: Jim Miller Melberg Exhibition [6-8PM]

Presented by Lawrence Technological University’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology

The Detroit Center for Design + Technology Woodward Gallery will present Miller Melberg’s career with an emphasis on the presentation of Form, Inc. playscapes and plaster works. The narrative is focused on the “art of play,” where the object of design is the playground. The “play” theme is advanced in Miller Melberg’s later plaster sculptures, where he experiments with color and form. A panel will be hosted to explore the role of art and architecture in placemaking – using Melberg’s work as a platform for discussion.

Learn more and RSVP


Sound and Objectivity [6-8PM]

Presented by Wesley & Kemp + Arcgeometer

Wesley & Kemp presents a two-part event in partnership with Arcgeometer, Detroit Sound Conservancy and Bahamas Biennale. The program will begin with a series of short talks on the impact sound has on our lives. Topics will include historical snapshots, architectural acoustics, speaker design, music and the object qualities of sound. After the talks, a special guest DJ will provide steady grooves while refreshments and conversation fill the space. Bahamas Biennale will extend their gallery hours for the evening.

Coyote Hawk
3106 Bellevue
Detroit, MI 48207

Learn more and RSVP

Wednesday, Sept. 27th


Design and Pragmatism [6pm – 7pm]

matali crasset is an industrial designer and principal of matali crasset productions, based in Paris. crasset has designed products and installations for clients such as Alessi, Campeggi, Hermès, IKEA, Le Buisson and Nodus. According to crasset, design is “less about creating materials and aesthetic forms than about teasing out and bringing into high relief the common interests and shared values of society.” This lecture will explore how design unites intuition and experience to foster innovation and creativity for humankind. Presented by College for Creative Studies Toyota Lecture Series.

College for Creative Studies
Walter B. Ford II Building
201 East Kirby St.
Detroit, MI 48202

Learn more:

Thursday, Sept. 28th

Photo Credit: Fauve Foto/Other Studio

Design is Everywhere! Symposium [5-7PM]

Grand Circus Magazine will host a multi-part event in partnership with PLAYGROUND DETROIT featuring a lecture and panel discussion featuring a diverse range of designers in fields that range from architecture, furniture design, graphic design and interior design. The conversation will be led by Editor in Chief of Grand Circus Magazine, Alex Trajcovski, around the topic of design, and how the individual relates to the space around them – personally and within an urban context – in reference to Detroit.

Learn more and RSVP:

Eastern Market After Dark [7-11pm]

Celebrate Detroit design as one of the nation’s oldest public markets transforms into a creative district by night. More than 30 studios and galleries will open late throughout the district. Sheds 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be open with interactive experiences, brand activations with Detroit’s up-and-coming designers and artists, installations and parties. Pick up an Eastern Market After Dark map in Shed 2 for a complete list of events and open studios upon arrival.

Learn more and RSVP:

Eastern Market, Shed 2
2934 Russell St.
Detroit, MI 48207

Eastern Market:
Murals in the Market
Open Studios

Ally – Activation
Art Van – Activation
Designer Putt Putt
Urban Consulate Lounge

AIA Celebration of Architecture **ticketed event

Food Trucks

Detroit Design Ball

Friday, September 29th

Design Village [Fri. 4-10PM + Sat. 10-6PM]

Shop from and discover Detroit’s most talented makers and designers at the DDF Design Village at Ponyride. Featuring everything from apparel and accessories, to homewares and interiors, this pop-up marketplace is sure to please design practitioners, consumers, and enthusiasts alike.

Additional programming will include: lectures, workshops and deisgn experiences. More details to be released soon.

  • Friday, September 29 | 4-10pm
    The Future of Design Technology: Mixed Reality
    Presented by AIGA Detroit
    Learn about and demo new mediums for the designers of the future! Adam Stogdill of Deep Canvas will teach you about the immersive experiences possible in augmented and virtual reality.
  • Saturday, September 30 | 10am-6pm

Ponyride will be offering tours of their space on September 30 from 12pm – 4pm on the hour.

Detroit Design 139 Exhibition

The Detroit Design 139 exhibit showcases relevant Detroit architectural and urban design projects within Detroit’s 139 square miles. Collectively, these projects illustrate the future of Detroit – an urban environment populated with thoughtful projects that simultaneously honor Detroit’s design legacy while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence. Detroit shapes Design.

For generations, Detroit has advanced modern urban development with innovative design practices; the integration of the first stretch of paved concrete on Woodward Avenue, the nation’s first tri-colored traffic light, and the contribution to mass-production through innovative technology in automotive manufacturing. These evolutionary design interventions have influenced built environments throughout the world, contributing to a new way of life predicated on modern ideals of speed, efficiency, and clean, functional aesthetics. Because of this strong design legacy and international influence, Detroit was recently awarded the first UNESCO City of Design designation in the United States, joining a worldwide network of cities committed to utilizing design as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion, and cultural vibrancy.

Detroit demands a high design standard for all future projects within the city’s 139 square miles.

To support this goal, the Detroit Design 139 exhibition puts forth ten guiding principles crafted to benefit all Detroiters:

  1. Advance design as a means to improve the quality-of-life for all people.
  2. Advance a thoughtful design process rooted in meaningful community engagement
  3. Seek creative solutions to solve long-standing urban issues.
  4. Honor context and history through contemporary design.
  5. Activate the public realm.
  6. Balance community cohesion with aesthetic diversity.
  7. Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences — emphasizing equity, design excellence, and inclusion.
  8. Explore new ways to live, work, and play together in the 21st century city.
  9. Celebrate Detroit’s design legacy, while contributing to the city’s design future.
  10. Balance function and beauty.

The Detroit Design 139 exhibition showcases relevant Detroit projects that respond to these design principles.  Collectively, these projects illustrate the future of Detroit – an urban environment populated with thoughtful projects that simultaneously honor Detroit’s design legacy while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence.  Detroit shapes Design. 

Saturday Sept. 30th

Light Up Livernois [5 – 10PM]

DDF’s Light Up Livernois returns for its fourth edition on Detroit’s Historic Avenue of Fashion. Join us and experience design through open studios, performances, putt-putt installations designed by local designers, urban furniture installations and more.

Livernois Ave. Between 7 Mile Rd. and 8 Mile Rd.
Detroit, MI 48221

Designer Putt Putt

Inspired by the London and Los Angeles Design Festivals, DDF selected five designers through a design competition to create an installation for one of the holes. The goal of the installations is to convey the unique experience of “Design Is Everywhere.” The winning designs will be installed collectively to create a temporary putt putt course during Eastern Market After Dark and Light Up Livernois.

Winning designers:
  • Indigo Carr, Tee Party
  • O2, Obstacles and Inspiration
  • ROSSETTI, R/ALL’s Put Put
  • Nick Tilma and Stephen Busscher, Exochrysura Emerging
  • Ciara Linden, A Putt Above