Coast to Coast: Detroit

lisa spindler

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.

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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.


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.

tiff massey
07-Cobo Center- photo courtesy SDG Associates

Exploring how Black Architects helped shape the physical identity of Detroit and their influence on design, the building community, and future generations



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.



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.

Fall PREVIEW 2018

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Fall Launch Illustration 3
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Introducing Klein Agency


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.


The New-New

Objet Trouve Mirror by Codor Design
Farrah Sit
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Ben Erickson
Planar Table by Fort Standard
Lexan Console by Phaedo
slipper chair
Slipper Chair by Moving Mountains
Lummi Quilt by M.Callahan
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Sonia Table by Vonnegut/Kraft
View II by Hiroko Takeda
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Meg Callahan
Walling Rug by Grain
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Coast to Coast with Design Milk

Colony and Design Milk explore the United States in the name of design, discovery and inspiration.
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In the upcoming season, Colony will travel through an itinerary of six cities and burgeoning design communities across the US seeking new expressions of American design, art and craft.

Chronicling our adventures through Design Milk, the Colony team will be in search of the most exciting new talent that the great expanse of our country has to offer.

We will be scouting for upcoming curatorial projects in New York City and possible publication in Design Milk. Designers and artists along the tour route can submit their work through to set up an appointment.

We’re so excited to meet you!


Tour Cities and Dates:

Detroit, MI
September 12-14
Nashville, TN
September 14-16
New Orleans, LA
October 5-7
Santa Fe, NM
November 9-11
Austin, TX
January 2-5, 2019
Miami, FL
January 18-20, 2019


Pingala-FarrahSit web



Finding stasis in the shape of an inverted triangle, Pingala’s neon form is stretched between a horizontal carrara canopy and the heft of a carved marble wheel. Much like a piece of string, the fixture’s thin line of light holds the circular wheel in a state of tension. Custom materials, dimensions and finishes available.


Ida’s carrara bar bows to the visual weight of a luminous arc realized in neon. Assisted by a brass joinery detail, the arrow of bent marble supports it’s light source in a show of tensile strength.  Custom materials, dimensions and finishes available.

Pingala-Detail-FarrahSit web



Neon w/ Transformer
3500K/ 450 Lumen


Sit chose neon in a nod to established technique and tradition. The bent materiality of this glass tubing allows her to further explore perceptions of tensile strength.


Pingala Tearsheet Download
Ida Tearsheet Download
Ida-FarrahSit web


Laura Guarie

Clinging to the front rail at the smaller than small Pearl Street “Ballroom,” a sweaty music venue in Northampton, MA, I felt a little woozy. Not because of anything I had ingested, but because the girl elbowing me for space was the same girl — bright pink hair, thick black eyeliner, heavy studded leather jacket and pants with no less than 20 nonfunctional zippers — who had spit in my general direction earlier that day in town.


It’s not that she didn’t like me. She clearly just didn’t like the idea of me: I was someone who bathed and wore white regularly, and thought it would be fun to see Gwar with the guy I was dating and his friends. Gwar, for those of you who are civilized, is part metal band, part art project — a band that closely resembles a pornographic monster nightmare. If you happened to google it just now, I’m really sorry. If you do know who Gwar is, I’m also sorry.


This wasn’t my first violent show, but this was the first time I found myself accidentally in the middle of the fray. Whether slinking around the walls or taking an elbow in the eye from
Pink Hair 20 Zippers, I was equally, awkwardly, out of place. The big differentiator being, when observing from the sidelines, my main thought was:


“How are they not getting hurt?”


And as P.H.20.Z. slammed her combat boot on my toe, my main thought became:


“I think I’m hurt.”

Tanapol Kaewpring

Flight wasn’t an option — I was pinned in from all directions — and let’s be honest, fight wasn’t either. Pinky Zips had at least 30 lbs on me. So as my new boyfriend’s roommates were at the back of the room assuring him that I was definitely going to break up with him for this, I let Gwar happen.


I wouldn’t call what happened next “moshing.” “Rag doll” isn’t quite right either, because while, yes, at times my body was limp and wholly supported by the people around me, I was also tense and alert. I concentrated on not dying, and succeeded! I found my strength and my balance in the chaos of sound. I left Pearl Street a little bruised, ears ringing, a new fan of Gwar.


And then I threw up.


Opening Reception
Thursday, May 17 | 7:00-10:00 PM

Laura Guarie
Berta Bernad by Paloma Wool
Entrapment by Tanapol Kaewpring

Balance / Unbalanced | These Names Have Been Changed

Florence Henri, Portrait 1928

Before design, I worked for some time in social services. The where and the when are not pertinent or interesting, but the what and the whom — a Direct Care Counselor with a small community of schizophrenic individuals — are like all of the most dazzling secrets: vital historical information that shapes a person and her choices without visible glitter or audible noise.


Their mental illnesses were like their personalities, wide-ranging and severe. Men and women older than my parents who needed my care to help them survive to the next day.


Beth, who rode the town bus on an obsessive and comforting loop from sunrise to sunset every day except Thursdays. Thomas, who collected old Walkmans and played air guitar, screaming along to Metallica at the top of his lungs outside of the popular pizza parlor downtown, also every day, including Thursdays. Ellen, who kept her two pet rats in her purse until they died tragically from neglect. In her purse.

Compagnia Finzi Pasca Nebbia 2

One of the most severe cases was John. Every member of our community was taking antipsychotics, which curbed their schizophrenic hallucinations. But John, no matter the dose or change of meds continued to see people that were not there and have experiences that did not happen.


“I met up with Jesus and Robert Redford at the mall yesterday,” John would tell me, and I would gently remind him that he was sick and that it didn’t really happen. John would go quiet and smile, with his own secret — that Robert Redford was hilarious and Jesus had a surprisingly catty side.


John and I became friends. A sixty-something, deeply religious gay man and a twenty-nothing girl harboring hopes to move to New York to become a fashion designer.

Compagnia Finzi Pasca Nebbia

If they took all their meds and completed all their daily tasks, each of them were rewarded a weekly outing with the counselor of their choice. John always chose me, and we always got fried clam rolls at his favorite spot two towns over.


It was over fried clams week after week, that I realized John’s struggle with his schizophrenia would never cease. He would never get better. No matter what I did, how much I cared, or how hard I worked, I wouldn’t be able to fix him. This realization left me despondent – as many similar revelations would in the years to come – but not John. He wasn’t always happy, and he was rarely balanced, but he was content and accepting of his daily journey between balance and unbalance.

Nostalgie de la terre Patrick Martin

After telling everyone I was leaving for New York, I struggled with feelings of guilt and an overwhelming sense of selfishness. Thomas had stood up from the sofa we were sitting at and declared he was going to kill himself (he didn’t, but we got him to his doctor immediately).


For weeks leading up to our final outing, John could not contain his excitement about the surprise he had planned for me. He talked about “The Surprise” for weeks and channelled his sadness towards planning, managing to keep the secret from me.


On the day of The Surprise, we climbed into the company car, and John instructed me where to drive. We pulled up to our destination and walked into the lobby of the newest chain hotel that recently opened in our small town. John sat on a floral wingback chair facing a gas fireplace with a giant smile on his face.


“Isn’t it so lovely in here?”


I settled into the chair next to him and said, “it is.”


Opening Reception
Thursday, May 17 | 7:00-10:00 PM

Florence Henri, Portrait 1928
Compagnia Finzi Pasca Nebbia
Nostalgie de la terre Patrick Martin

Balance / Unbalanced | Natarajasana

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Stand in Mountain Pose, with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Palms facing forward.


Realize that yes, Mountain Pose is the same as “just standing.”


Shift your weight onto your left foot.


Bend your right knee moving your foot straight back and up.


Reach your right hand down, palm facing outwards and clasp the inner arch of your right foot, wrapping your fingers over top.


Find your balance.


Draw your knees together and find your balance.


Reach your left arm overhead, facing your palm to the right.


Relax your shoulders, if they have shrugged towards your ears, roll them back and down, while keeping your left arm up.


By fixing your gaze on an unmoving spot ahead, find your balance. A spot where the floor meets the ground works well, and keeps you from making uncomfortable eye contact with your reflection.


Make sure your left kneecap and toes haven’t strayed. They should be pointing straight forward.


Find your balance and when you feel ready, begin to press your right foot away from your body as you lean your torso ever-slightly forward. Keep your chest lifted and continue reaching your left fingertips toward the ceiling.


Raise your right foot as high as you can, bringing your thigh parallel to the floor. No pressure, but higher if possible. While your leg reaches up, tuck your tailbone toward the ground to avoid compressing your lower back. Your right knee should be in line with your body so be careful not to let it splay open to the side.


Balance and breathe. One.

Balance and breathe. Two.

Balance and breathe. Three.

Balance and breathe. Four.

Balance and breathe. Five.


Slowly and gently lower your leg and reverse these steps, returning you to your starting position.


For balance, repeat on the left side.


Opening Reception
Thursday, May 17 | 7:00-10:00 PM

Balance / Unbalanced

Opening Reception

Thursday, May 17 | 7:00-10:00 PM


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