Art & Entertainment, DETROIT

10 Detroit Businesses Win Inaugural Commerce Design Awards

A few days ago, Design Core Detroit, a non-profit that offers services to strengthen, grow and attract design businesses to Detroit, and AIA Detroit announced the 10 winning projects of the inaugural Commerce Design: Detroit awards. Commerce Design: Detroit recognizes 10 brick-and-mortar commercial projects, submitted jointly by the business owner and designing team.

“The jurors for Commerce Design: Detroit chose businesses that celebrate the impact of commercial design in neighborhood businesses. Regardless of project size or budget, the winners exemplify everything we had hoped for when bringing this program to Detroit,” said Olga Stella, executive director of Design Core Detroit, a joint initiative of the College for Creative Studies and Business Leaders for Michigan.


Commerce Design: Detroit aims to recognize the role of design in increasing competitiveness of local businesses, spur work by local designers and architects, and preserve the unique local identity of Detroit’s neighborhoods. These spaces help to create a sense of place and improve the quality of life for locals and visitors alike.

New Order Coffee


● Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. (Midtown) Submitted by Owners Jeffrey, Justin, and Joshua Moss, and Design Team D-MET Studio

Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. (Midtown)

FOLK Detroit (Corktown) Submitted by Owners Kiki Louya & Rohani Foulkes, and Designer Christopher Stefani of CL Stefani Co.

FOLK Detroit (Corktown)

FOLK Detroit (Corktown)

Detroit Foundation Hotel (Downtown-Financial District) Submitted by Owners Aparium Hotel Group & 250 Larned LLC, and Design Team McIntosh Poris Associates

Detroit Foundation Hotel (Downtown-Financial District) 

Detroit Foundation Hotel (Downtown-Financial District) 

House of Pure Vin (Downtown-Merchants Row) Submitted by Owners Regina Gaines, Andrea Dunbar, and Terry Mullins, and Design Team M1/DTW

House of Pure Vin (Downtown-Merchants Row)

Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles (University District) Submitted by Owner Ronald Bartell and Designer Joshua Smith of Who’s That?

Lumen Detroit (Downtown-Beacon Park) Submitted by Owner DTE (managed by Norm LePage), and Design Team Touloukian Touloukian Inc.

Lumen Detroit

New Order Coffee Roasters (Brush Park) Submitted by Owner Elizabeth Rose, and Design Teams Unsold Studio and Et al Collaborative

New Order Coffee
New Order Coffee

Sfumato Fragrances (Midtown) Submitted by Owners Jane Larson & Kevin Peterson, and Designer Paul Karas of Ware Mfg.

Sfumato Fragrances
Sfumato Fragrances

TAKOI (Corktown) Submitted by Owners Philip Kafka & Chef Brad Greenhill, and Design Team Undecorated


The Commons (Islandview) Submitted by Ezekiel Harris of MACC Development, and Design Team Laavu Studio

The Commons
The Commons


The winners of the first Commerce Design: Detroit awards were selected from a highly competitive group of 37 submissions, representing a broad range of businesses, scales and neighborhoods.

The jury, featuring both local and international design practitioners, consisted of Elliott Broom, general manager of the forthcoming Shinola Hotel, Sylvie Champeau, project manager of Bureau du Design in Montreal, Najahyia Chinchilla, co-studio director of Workplace at Gensler, and Sandra Olave, chair, interior design department, College for Creative Studies.

The jury conducted on-site visits to each of the finalist businesses to learn more about their design process and the impact the project has had in its neighborhood context.

Kuzzos Chicken and Waffles


Developed more than 20 years ago in Montreal — another UNESCO City of Design — the program is now licensed in more than a dozen cities around the world, now including Detroit.

“Montreal’s long-term investment into this program has made the case that good design can be additive in many ways. Thanks to the contest’s ripple effects, we have seen tangible improvement in the quality of places we visit and the experiences they offer. It’s such a joy to see it happening in Detroit!” said Sylvie Champeau, project manager at Montréal’s Bureau du design.

AIA Detroit, the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, has supported  Design Core in the management of the new program, which is presented by Bank of America, with additional support from the Hudson-Webber Foundation and New Economy Initiative.

“These awards are a powerful reminder of the great work that’s taking place in Detroit, across a wide range of project types and scales, and in communities well beyond greater downtown. From internationally-renowned architecture firms to small, startup designers, Detroit’s design economy is a positive force lifting up businesses and communities across the city,” said Charlie Klecha, managing director, AIA Detroit.

Commerce Design: Detroit is just one of more than 50 initiatives launched by Design Core and its Detroit City of Design partners as part of a larger strategy to champion inclusive growth. Through this program, Design Core and AIA Detroit are striving to develop a culture in Detroit neighborhoods that uses design to create spaces that welcome all.

Design Core will be hosting a special tour of the winners on December 1 as part of its Drinks x Design series. Tickets go on sale November 7. Details are forthcomiing. Visit for more information.

All photos courtesy of Design Core Detroit.

SOURCE: Design Core Detroit


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