Le Désign Detroit

Detroit designers head to France for design biennale

Design International Midwest
Detroit designers head to France for design biennale. Seen here: La Manufacture, a repurposed armaments factory that now serves as the home of the Saint-Etienne Design Biennale. (Courtesy LIN Agency)
Detroit designers head to France for design biennale. Seen here: La Manufacture, a repurposed armaments factory that now serves as the home of the Saint-Etienne Design Biennale. (Courtesy LIN Agency)

More than 40 Detroit design firms and organizations will be featured in La Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne 2017. The 10th iteration of the international design show will take place throughout the month of March, and is entitled “Working Promesse.” Detroit will be represented in three independent-but-connected exhibitions; the show has taken the future of work as its theme.

Over 60 Detroiters will travel to France to present work, perform, and participate in panel discussions. A Detroit gift shop and “Detroit-style” coffee shop will be set up to serve Detroit dishes to the international crowd.

One year ago Detroit was named a UNESCO City of Design, the first and only in the United States. Since then, organizations have capitalized on the designation by raising the profile of Detroit as a center for design. One of those organizations—the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3)—will play a leading role in the Biennale.

“As a result of the UNESCO designation, we have this unique opportunity to elevate Detroit’s perspective to a global audience,” said Olga Stella, executive director of DC3 in a press statement. “This is just the beginning of future collaborations between Detroit and other international cities on the pressing issues that face our communities.”

footwork

Designer Thom Moran of Thing Thing experiments with materials for “Future Foam,” an upcycling collaboration supported by Lear Corporation. (Courtesy Thing Thing)

For the Biennale, DC3 will present Footwork, which will look at the unconventional collaborations between Detroit’s corporate, grassroots, and civic design organizations. The exhibit will be curated by Public Design Trust and will include experimental processes and products including the upcycling furniture prototype Future Foam, developed by Thing Thing. Other work by students from the College for Creative Studies and collaborations with corporate groups such as Henry Ford Innovation Institute, Carhartt, and Detroit Bikes will be featured as well.

mothership_akoaki

The Mothership designed by Akoaki for the O.N.E. Mile Project. (Courtesy Akoaki)

Akoaki Studio will create a carte blanche exhibition entitled Out of Site, which will address how Detroit’s residents are reinventing how they live and work. In a series of full-scale installations, artist and musicians will work with DetroitAfrikan Music Institution and French musicians.

La Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne will be held in Saint-Étienne, France, from March 9th through April 9th.

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