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Inside the redesigned Globe Tobacco Building

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The lobby
Eric Perry

We profiled the Globe Tobacco Company Building about a year ago as an iconic Detroit building. The interior has recently been redesigned by dPop, and we have the designers' insights on this updated look in a classic building.

To recap, the building was designed by architect Alexander Chapoton in 1888 for the Globe Tobacco Company. It once held heavy machinery to produce tobacco for years. It was redesigned into office space in 1984. Dan Gilbert's Bedrock bought the building in 2014 for $3.3 million. It now holds offices for various tech and small businesses.

This six-story brick Romanesque Revival building gets massive natural light from the beautiful windows. Huge wood beams soar through the interior.

It was redesigned this summer by Anna Habig and T Morris. For the lower level, dPop stripped the paint and repainted the space in a more neutral pallet to draw the eye to the original architectural details of the building. The ceramic faux marble flooring, which was probably installed in the 1980s or 90s, was removed and replaced with wood-look porcelain tile. Tile was chosen as opposed to wood taking into account the high traffic nature of the space while drawing on the surrounding aesthetic. Wood furniture was added in place of the existing. The artwork hanging in this space is by local artist Lisa Spindler, who photographed stamps and molds from an assembly line.

Here’s the lower level before and after the redesign.

For the main lobby, the same wood-look porcelain tile flooring was used. The desk incorporates an elevator wheel salvaged from 1265 Giswold. It was designed by T Morris and fabricated by JPD. All molding, timber framing, and window frames are original. The slate elevator control panels hanging on the wall also came from 1265 Griswold, and were framed by PF Galleries. Artwork by Jill Hart’s "Blended Line Series" hangs on one wall.

Here’s how it looked before.

And now:

For the staircase, flooring was replaced with wood-look porcelain tile, a wall was repainted, and the cascading light installation was designed by the dPop team. In the upper floors, the original timber frame construction remains, Lisa Spindler’s art (the aforementioned assembly line project) hangs on the walls, and dPop removed the existing carpet to reveal original maple floors. The bathrooms were completely gutted Kraemer Design Group was the architect of record for this part of the project, custom steel frames for the mirrors were fabricated by Virtuoso Design Build, white subway tile was chosen for a clean look, and the wall covering, which you can see in the mirror reflection, is from Flavor Paper, and is the "Crowd (Where’s Warhol)" pattern.


As for the details you can see in the above gallery, all building and way-finding signage is custom, the signs were designed by dPop and fabricated by Metro Detroit Signs, the pattern on the sign backing is old cigar labels to pay homage to the building’s original use by the Globe Tobacco Co., the Globe Tobacco logo that’s used on the directory was a stamp the company put on its crates, and the elevator cabs got the same wood-look porcelain tile, with leather tiles on the walls.

Strong work bringing an updated aesthetic to a classic building.