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MarxModa opens Detroit headquarters in historic downtown building

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Old meets new in a formerly-abandoned bank building

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

The historic Albert Kahn-designed bank building at the corner of Griswold and Lafayette is filled with activity again after it sat empty for 17 years. A three-year renovation is now complete, and Herman Miller office furniture dealer MarxModa has opened a new headquarters in the space.

Walking through the four floors and basement, you’ll notice many original details from the 1924-25 building—the flooring, wood paneling in the board room, the incredible staircase, and of course, that lobby ceiling. The ceiling and exterior stonework were created by famed architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci, who also did extensive work on the nearby Guardian and David Stott Buildings.

Does the building look familiar? It was featured in the 1994 Danny Devito movie Renaissance Man.

Whitney Marx shared some pre-renovation photos with Curbed. In them, we see the board room with the beautiful floor and a huge hole in the ceiling. We also see the largely in-tact Parducci ceiling over a lobby that had been torn apart. They also have a interactive walkthrough available to see more of the building pre-renovation.

Courtesy of Whitney Marx

One of the more fun areas in the building is the basement, where the employees relax and gather. Two very old vaults lead to new conference rooms—one with a heavy baseball theme. You’ll also notice a nod to Detroit firefighters with reclaimed wood from the old Fire Department Headquarters, now the Foundation Hotel. Both baseball and firefighting have roots in the family.

MarxModa helps companies design their own offices, and throughout the building, we see contemporary office furniture among the old Detroit architectural details. Original floor plans hang outside the elevators. Little nooks house smaller spaces to meet. A design library opens up to rows of desks. Huge windows overlook both Capitol Park and Campus Martius. And the beautifully-restored staircase overlooks both the interior and the outside views.