Detroit ‘Month of Design’ 2019 highlights inclusivity


Over the years, Design Core Detroit has turned September into an uninterrupted month-long celebration of design in the city. This year’s rerun features some of the same events that have become a staple of the festival, such as Eastern Market After Dark and Light Up Livernois (although it will be modified a bit due to the road construction on Livernois Avenue).

But with 55 events, almost all of which are free, there are plenty of new things on the agenda almost every day of the month. And a clear emphasis on a new subject.

In April of this year, Design Core Detroit released a report looking for ways to grow the city through inclusive design practices. The program of this year’s festival reflects this new direction.

A ceremony will be held at Beacon Park on September 29 to introduce the winners of the Detroit City of Design competition. The three winning teams developed prototypes that will eventually be installed in the Detroit neighborhoods for up to six months. For example, the SmithGroup designed a public installation for Hope Village with hand-operated cranks and stationary bicycles that, among other things, powers a display with energy output.

Other events in the context of inclusive design are the extensive exhibition “Detroit Design 139”, which begins on September 5th with the festival and will be shown in four different rooms in the city. There is also Halal Metropolis, an exhibition on Muslim identity in Metro Detroit; several lectures on diversity in design and music; Presentations on empowering communities through design; and more.

Detroit Design 139 shows inclusive design projects

“In a city in which we are facing great challenges, we want to show how design can be an instrument for improving the quality of life and economic opportunities,” says Olga Stella, Managing Director of Design Core Detroit.

There are many other lectures, tours, and open studio events. So be sure to read the full schedule for the latest information on when and where everything is happening.

While the festival is now in its ninth year, its scope expanded significantly after Detroit was named a UNESCO City of Design in 2015 – the first American city to receive the award. Representatives from all 31 cities meet annually, and this is the first year they meet in Detroit.

“Detroit has to be seen on a global stage,” says Stella. “We’re going to spend time together working on topics of common interest, but the other half is about getting out and seeing the city.”

Ultimately, Design Month is about showcasing Detroit’s design legacy and its bright future.

“The whole purpose is to create enough enthusiasm and energy that people in the region and around the world look to Detroit every September,” says Stell. “And find inspiration in what they see.”

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Dusty Kennedy