A scent that has transformed our second floor Canal Street design gallery into a sensory oasis, the Three–Two–Four Candle embodies Colony’s pursuit of substantive beauty. Deep notes of leather and fresh tobacco lifted by the warmth of earthen spices have long welcomed us into the airy space we call home. Memorialized by a minimal white pillar, the scent sits atop a tonal terrazzo base.
We started the experiment that is now Colony with a resolute idealism. A belief that if we fought hard enough and made smart choices, we could change some of the rules that were set out before us.
The rules of commerce and industry have been written by men unlike the vast majority of us. A self-preserving, uber-elite that have tipped the scales in their favor. I work every day to prove (mostly to myself) that we can stake a small claim of this industry for ourselves and for people like us. That we can subvert the status quo. Though many days this endeavor feels like brute force, Colony is in fact balancing between delicately fine lines.
We must be simultaneously open and cautious, a seemingly impossible feat. If you’ve ever come to a Colony opening and had to wait in line (so sorry) you’ve experienced our dilemma. Colony and our carefully chosen designers work tirelessly to create work that many will never own, but all should have the opportunity to experience. I am acutely aware of this juxtaposition and hope that our space can become a conduit for inclusion, curation and discovery — for everyone.
Beauty alone is fleeting, while pure substance can be easily overlooked. However, once combined and truly achieved, the power of substantive beauty is unending. I’ll admit I invented this term but use it with such veracious frequency that one might assume it was common English vernacular. Regardless, it is the pursuit on which Colony was built and continues to grow.
Colony was founded on principles of community, inclusion, positivity and substantive beauty. Sometimes we succeed and at times we fall short, but everyday we strive towards those ideals. I want to speak for our small community to express our intolerance for misogyny, racism, bigotry and aggression. In these politically tumultuous times, with weeks like last week, and men ascending to power like Brett Kavanaugh, please join us in fighting for light in a dark world. Please join us in always striving, even when we falter, for our highest ideals.
Our second leg of Coast to Coast with Design Milk uncovered a genuinely supportive community where colleagues and clients seem more like friends and family. This camaraderie has resulted in a thriving self-sustaining industry of Nashville architects working with Nashville designers and artists, placing Nashville-made work in Nashville-based projects.
Natives and implants alike are disconcertingly nonchalant about this self-made industry, and their charm lies in their acute awareness of the world outside of Nashville, and their uncanny ability to not let it veer them from their creative paths.
Balancing the tenuous lines between honoring the past, moving toward the future and nurturing a robust creative community while building an economically sound urban ecostructure, Detroit left us wanting more Detroit. More explanation, more exposure and more truth about how the historically embattled city defines its own growth through architecture, art and design.
Here are some of Detroit’s most innovative initiatives, in their own words. Corporations, non-profits, individual artists and small practices that all share an undeniable work ethic and a passion for the city they are working to grow. While opinions of this growth span from guarded buoyancy to quiet skepticism, one thing was made clear on our first leg of Coast to Coast, it’s these people who really run this city.
The BELT is a culturally redefined alley in the heart of downtown Detroit. The public space is home to murals and installations by local, national and international artists. It is part of local gallery, Library Street Collective’s continuous effort to ensure that artists have a space to create and engage with the public in Detroit.
TIFF MASSEY | ARTIST
My work merges the regal aesthetics of traditional African fashion and hair-styling techniques with the grandiose bravado of 1980’s hip-hop jewelry. Influenced by Detroit’s history of ostentatious fashion, my work examines how symbols of wealth in the regalia of African diaspora affect the wearer’s behavior and attitude, eliciting an experience whereupon the viewer may encounter an object and engage in thoughts and/or acts of vanity.
Exploring how Black Architects helped shape the physical identity of Detroit and their influence on design, the building community, and future generations
PONYRIDE | NONPROFIT | COMMERCIAL SPACE
Ponyride is a catalyst for deploying social capital to a diverse group of artists, creative entrepreneurs and makers who are committed to working together to make communities in Detroit sustainable from our 28,000 square foot building in Corktown.
400 FORWARD | NONPROFIT | EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT
We are committed ambassadors of exposure, diversity and inclusion in architecture and urban planning, and making sure the design profession reflects the communities it serves. 400 Forward’s mission: to uplift girls by giving them the tools they need to address social issues created by the unjust built environments of our inner-city communities. We aim to support the career development of the next 400 women architects, with an underlying focus on African American girls through exposure, mentorship, and financial assistance.
Creatively rethinking the way in which people dwell, Klein Agency focuses on simple solutions to living well. With a background in architecture and art, Klein Agency is built on experience, an understanding of design processes, and a desire to give spaces, products and brands new, unexpected identities, rich in materials and attentive to details. Klein Agency understands and applies its’ design process in a holistic way, creating for its clients new untold stories, where all components come together in an elegant and coherent narration.
A wife-and-husband duo, Maša and Jon Kleinhample, started Klein Agency 3 years ago in Antwerp, Belgium and migrated its head office to Downtown Los Angeles at the start of 2017. Today they design out of their studio in the Arts District, DTLA.