Detroit Month of Design is back for its 11th annual citywide celebration of creativity that calls upon designers and the greater Detroit community to come together and celebrate the city’s role as an international design capital. The 2021 festival will host over 70 events and experiences that can be enjoyed in open air spaces, indoors, on-demand and virtually. See all events and installations here.
Did you know that Detroit is home to the highest concentration of commercial and industrial designers in the country?
Every September, creatives, students and community leaders across Detroit commune throughout the month to show off their latest creations and vision for the future. Events ranging from panel discussions, workshops, interactive exhibitions and even walking tours, take place all over the city, showcasing the pioneering talent and innovation that makes Detroit a leading UNESCO City of Design.
This year, three themes are reflected throughout the month-long celebration including: building environment, visual communication and product design. As a leading design capital, it was vital to champion these themes while embracing the importance of accessibility, collaboration, and diversity.
Inclusive design considers the gamut of human diversity and how individual experiences help to drive solutions for a collective social impact. By designing for all, we can create places, products, services, and systems that are truly designed in an inclusive way.
Here’s some of the events that caught our attention:
9/1/2021 – 9/30/2021
Lawrence Technological University, Detroit Center for Design + Technology
Sneaker House presented by Foot Locker will showcase three installations and programing that celebrates the social impact of sneaker culture. Activations will include vibrant displays and artworks by We Are Culture Creators, Onzie Norman, Taylor Childs and more.
“IRON TEACHING ROCKS HOW TO RUST”
MBAD African Bead Museum
Join MBAD African Museum’s Founder, Olayami Dabls, for a walking tour of the latest outdoor installations, all of which use African material culture to tell stories about the human condition and the lost languages of the African Dispora.
BIOPHILIA: LOVE OF LIFE
Reception: Friday, September 10, 2021, from 5-7 pm
Sustainability Talk: September 30th 7-8 pm
The Ford House is the historic lakeside estate of the Ford family. Step inside the stunning 20th century, Albert Kahn-designed home, featuring exclusive auto exhibits, 87-acre grounds, and captivating views of Lake St. Clair. This sought-after exhibition, BIOPHILIA: Love of Life, will visually express works that explore our need to connect with nature and each other.
“ALBERT KAHN: CREATING THE MODERN WORLD”
“Albert Kahn: Creating the Modern World” honors the work of Albert Kahn, Detroit’s most significant architect of the first half of the 20th century. Kahn’s work pioneered the creation of America’s modern industrial spaces. This exhibit conveys the story of how his historically significant architecture and design has transcended throughout time.
GUIDED GARDEN TOURS OF DETROIT’S OUDOLF GARDEN
9/3/2021, 9/11/2021, 9/17/2021, 9/24/2021
Belle Isle- Oudolf Garden
Internationally renowned Dutch garden designer and horticulturist, Piet Oudolf, recently crafted Belle Isle’s newest garden. The garden was intentionally designed to be both artistic and ecological, while visually communicating the energy of Detroit. Weekly guided garden tours are offered throughout the month, but open year round for all to enjoy.
INVOKING THE SPIRIT: DETROIT’S BLACK BOTTOM
Lafayette Plaisance Park
When history and design combine, rich and bold creations are born. The Detroit Historical Society and Design Core Detroit, partnered together to develop an exhibit model that allows everyone to experience Detroit’s history in open public spaces. Experience this dynamic walking tour of Detroit’s historic Black Bottom neighborhood through the lens of former Detroiter and their families.
STEPS TOWARD JUSTICE: ARTIS LANE’S PORTRAITS OF ROSA PARKS
Engage in the intersection of social justice and design at the Steps Toward Justice, exhibition. This installation will highlight portraits of Rosa Parks by renowned painter/sculptor Artis Lane, whose bust of Parks was selected for President Biden’s Oval Office.
Keep the conversation alive by joining art historian, Deborah Lubera Kawsky for a hosted talk about Lane, her works and the intersection of art and civil rights on Saturday, September 25 at 2pm.
Midtown- Detroit’s Cultural Center and DTE’s Beacon Park
When the sun goes down, the lights go up at the annual DLECTRICITY outdoor festival of art, light and technology. This nighttime event showcases breathtaking art by emerging, established and creative design artists and professionals. No flashlights needed with over 40 art installations and 2 music stages that will focus on safe visitor experiences in open spaces throughout Detroit’s Cultural Center and DTE’s Beacon Park.
LIVERNOIS ART ON THE AVENUE
Businesses located on Livernois Avenue from 6 Mile to 8 Mile Rd
For over a year, the six art galleries on Livernois have collaborated to bring forth the highly anticipated, annual Art on the Avenue event featuring the growing art presence on Livernois Avenue.
The Michigan Building
Michigan Opera Theatre, is committed to presenting opera and dance of the highest caliber. Performing the finale of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, BLISS replays these three minutes of the opera with the same cast and same orchestra without breaks for twelve hours. This live performance will be the first in the historic Michigan Building Theatre since its changeover to a parking center, breaking a 50 year performance drought in the space.
DESIGNING RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTS: WHY INTENT MATTERS MORE THAN EVER
Don’t miss this rare event featuring, Andy Vitale, EVP of Design at Rocket Mortgage & Co-host of the Surfacing Podcast shares how to design safe, ethical and inclusive solutions. Focusing on how outcomes can cause inadvertent harm to our communities locally and beyond.
DIVERSITY IN DESIGN COLLABORATIVE: CREATING AN INCLUSIVE DESIGN ECOSYSTEM
College for Creative Studies – General Motors Auditorium
Join the Diversity in Design (DID) Collaborative along with a hand selected panel of collaborators and Detroit community leaders for an exciting discussion exploring issues around the need for diversity in the design industry—specifically the underrepresented Black creatives.
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