Detroit is recognized as the birthplace of techno, renowned for its delicious coney dogs, and celebrated for its outstanding modern and art deco architecture. Every year since 2010, the Detroit Month of Design (MoD) highlights the city’s art scene and cultural contributions by showcasing local designers whose work gives back to the city.
During the month of September, 175 participants will present their work across 65 sites and events, although not all of them will be in person because of COVID-19. As part of MoD’s programming this year, designers and cultural administrators will participate in virtual panel discussions with other UNESCO cities around get-it-up-quick design interventions spurred by the pandemic. (UNESCO named Detroit a City of Design in 2015, a designation given to arts-rich cities that’s meant to spur economic development via local investing and tourism.)
In meatspace, one notable citywide event is the Detroit Window Design Classic, a competition that matches small business owners with artists to gussy up storefronts (image at top). For Albert Kahn fans there’s a walking tour of the hometown hero’s downtown buildings, including the Detroit Free Press Building and the First National Building. The tour inaugurates an app produced by Albert Kahn Associates, which geolocates its buildings for curious users to tour on their own.
A highlight of the initiative is Design in the City, an annual competition that pairs local fashion and accessories designers with area businesses to showcase their work. As part of the competition, twelve winners will get technical and business assistance from advisory groups in the industry locally and internationally. If you’re in town September 12–30, winners will be displaying their wares at (socially distanced) trunk shows along Livernois, Detroit’s fashion avenue.
A full schedule of MoD programming and events can be found here.