Michigan has been a center of modern design since the turn of the twentieth century. The automobile industry pioneered industrial design through the work of Harley Earl for General Motors. Emil Lorch instituted a new form of architectural education at the University of Michigan based on the theory of Pure Design, which led to Michigan becoming a leader in organic architecture. Under Eliel Saarinen, the Cranbrook Academy of Art become one of the most respected design schools in the world. Michigan’s furniture industry partnered with great modern designers from Charles Eames and George Nelson to Finn Juhl. The factory buildings of Michigan-based architect Albert Kahn inspired Europe’s modern architects, while Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki defined the Post War era. Michigan designers changed modern life and designed the American dream.
Join us as the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, in partnership with the Kendall College of Art and Design and the Grand Rapids Art Museum, explores Michigan’s remarkable impact on Modern design and architecture. This symposium will highlight significant people and products and their worldwide influence on the modern design aesthetic.
The symposium Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America is held in complement with an exhibition of same name at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.