Michigan has one of the most iconic legacies of furniture design. Just look up the contributions of Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll and Eero Saarinen to the seismic shift in design that shaped ‘modernism’ in the mid 20th century. And that just barely scratches the surface. But how is this legacy of important and innovative furniture design carried on today, and where is the center of innovation?
datum : detroit, a documentation project produced by NEXT:SPACE founder Isabelle Weiss, compiles and presents stories that carry-on Michigan’s furniture design legacy and reinforce the role of Detroit as a center for innovative design today. The project records Detroit-based furniture designers and their work with photography and, eventually, short documentary films that examine the unique range of approaches and aesthetics born from designers living and working in the Detroit area. “I am so excited to see this project come to life,” says Weiss, who has been developing the concept over the last few years, “there are so many examples of innovative design and excellent craftsmanship coming from Detroit and they need to be documented and shared in order to make an impact.” Derived from the definition of ‘datum’ as a ‘fixed starting point of a scale or operation,’ Weiss says the project is an ongoing archive of furniture design born in this area positioning Detroit as an important center for contemporary design.
This month, Weiss and NEXT:SPACE partner with the Detroit Center for Design + Technology to present the first datum: Detroit series, opening DCDT’s Corridor Gallery with an exhibition of eight portraits of furniture and objects from local designers, captured through the lens of Detroit photographer Heather Saunders. Each portrait is a glimpse into the unique perspectives shaping contemporary design in Detroit, introducing the viewer to a diverse range of designers and inviting further exploration of the new age of local design.
Ayako Aratani + Evan Fay, Elizabeth Born + Mario Isenmann, Nina Cho, Brian DuBois, Kyle Huntoon, Alex Rosenhaus + Drew Arrison, Paula Schubatis, Colin Tury
Discover traditional woodworking in contemporary forms, unusual and striking fine art furniture, textiles woven from unconventional “fibers”, intuitive construction methods in soft seating, and new approaches to minimalism.
A Detroit-based retailer of furniture, objects and interior elements from local designers. As both a retail and exhibition platform, NEXT:SPACE supports the new generation of designers carrying on Michigan’s legacy of important furniture design.
NEXT:SPACE was founded in 2014 by design curator Isabelle Weiss to develop, exhibit, and sell work from Detroit-based furniture designers. NEXT:SPACE has worked with over a dozen local designers, enhancing spaces big and small, public and private throughout Detroit. In 2017, the NEXT:SPACE showroom opened in the Fisher Building, offering curated retail collections of furniture and home objects as well as custom furniture design services. www.nextspacedetroit.com
About the Photographer
Heather Saunders has been a professional fine art, event and commercial photographer for 20 years. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Weddings, The Detroit News, HOUR Detroit Magazine, Metro Times, The Food Network, The Washington Post, Vogue, Huffington Post. Saunders was also a collaborator and the official photographer for the 2015 Flower House installation. Her self published Flower House Detroit book, documented the project with photos and words on her experience. Her work has been exhibited locally, recently receiving an Honorable Mention award in the 2016 Scarab Club photography exhibition for a piece from an architectural and auto photo series she is currently developing. www.heathersaunders.photo
About Detroit Center for Design + Technology
The Detroit Center for Design + Technology opened in 2016 as the home of Lawrence Technological University College of Architecture and Design’s Detroit programs. Situated in Midtown along Woodward Avenue, the DCDT offers programs and opportunities – for both the public and for LTU students – to engage creative endeavors, collaborate with organizations and make a greater social and community impact for the future of Detroit.
Presented by: NEXT:SPACE and Detroit Center for Design + Technology
Location: LTU Detroit Center for Design and Technology – Second Floor
4219 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI
Opening Date: February 15, 2018, from 6pm to 9pm
Closing Date: April 25, 2018