A Design Lover’s Guide to Detroit


This ambitious project opened in the Cass Corridor last summer and is a great example of adaptive reuse. DSC consists of 21 shipping containers and is spread over two levels. It features a well-curated group of fast-casual restaurants – Bangkok 96 Street Food’s Pad Thai Rolls are best-sellers – and full-service bars, with plenty of outdoor and indoor seating. Upstairs, an art gallery displays emerging local talent.

Selden standard

Selden standard.

Photo: Marvin Shaouni

This is exactly the kind of restaurant that every neighborhood needs and deserves. The menu, envisioned by Chef Andy Hollyday, is replete with familiar, well-executed plates that you will return for frequently (think roasted Brussels sprouts, shrimp and grits, and braised short ribs). The design is an elegant and timeless blend of subway tile, cedar floorboards, and Edison bulb lighting.

Something to see

Detroit Institute of Arts

Installation views of Ruben and Isabel Toledo’s interventions throughout the museum in connection with their “Labor of Love” exhibition.

Photo: Wheeler

DIA is located in Midtown and is one of the pre-eminent arts institutions in the country. Although the mighty Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera are well known, DIA’s private collection spans over 65,000 pieces and spans disciplines including African American, Native American, and Asian with an emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. The changing exhibits are also exceptional: “Ruben and Isabel Toledo: Work of Love”, which shows new pieces that the couple created after reflecting on the museum’s collection, can be seen until July.

The belt

The belt.

Photo: Courtesy of the Belt

Library Street Collective, a local contemporary art gallery, worked with Bedrock, the real estate developer behind the Shinola Hotel, to dramatically change a walkway that runs through a downtown parking garage called Z. The result? A lively alley full of public art – contributions by Nina Chanel Abney, Rosson Crow and Carlos Rolón – with two bars, Standby and The Skip, should the craving for a well-made cocktail arise.

The Heidelberg project

The Heidelberg project.

Photo: Courtesy of the Heidelberg project

This provocative and sobering outdoor art space is artist Tyree Guyton’s bold vision. With his grandfather’s encouragement and in response to the decline of many neighborhoods in his hometown, Guyton turned two crumbling blocks he grew up in on the East Side into a creative, political and social statement using found items such as paint, stuffed animals, and records.


Dusty Kennedy