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These 10 Detroit businesses showcase the best in new commerce design

Now, the public can vote for their favorite

The Commons reactivates a vacant building into a coffee shop, laundromat, and community space.
Photos courtesy of Design Core Detroit

What drives visitors and shoppers to a new business? And how can design in commerce enhance a neighborhood?

As part of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation, Commerce Design: Detroit—modeled after a similar contest in Montreal—is now in its final stages. Ten winners were announced Thursday evening at an awards presentation, and now the people can vote for their favorite.

The winners represent a range of businesses and neighborhoods, from a coffeeshop/laundromat in Islandview, to an award-winning hotel that transformed from the old Fire Department Headquarters, to a fragrance shop and cocktail bar in the basement of a mansion in Midtown.

Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. combined three vacant spaces into one showroom and retail space for a family business.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit
The Detroit Foundation Hotel has won numerous awards since opening in spring 2017.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit

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.” Run by Design Core Detroit and AIA Detroit, 37 businesses were nominated by owners and/or designers. The competition was then narrowed down to 18, with the ten winners awarded Thursday. Eligible businesses had to have opened in the last five years.

The House of Pure Vin aims to bring approachability to wine.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit
New Order Coffee brings a light, bright aesthetic to Brush Park.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit

“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.

Folk Detroit brings a homey, comforting eatery with an open kitchen to Corktown.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit
Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles features warm tones and eclectic artwork on Livernois.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit

Jurors included 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 jurors visited the sites to learn more about the design process, how the businesses complement their neighborhoods, and how the businesses create a sense of space.

Lumen adds modern new construction to a light-themed park downtown.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit
Sfumato blends retail fragrance and craft cocktails into a tiny basement space.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit
Rebuilt after a fire, Takoi was designed around how the owners and designers wanted to feel in the space.
Courtesy of Design Core Detroit

Anyone can vote for the People’s Choice winner here through November 11. As part of its monthly Drinks x Design events, Design Core Detroit will host a special bus tour December 1; more details will be provided in the coming weeks.

Detroit Foundation Hotel

250 West Larned Street, , MI 48226 Visit Website