Michigan Modern is the first step in claiming Michigan’s rightful position as an international leader in Modern design. Michigan’s impressive twentieth century design history can be used to create a new image for the state, based on the design legacy of its automobile industry, its vibrant furniture industry, and the outstanding Michigan architects that helped shape contemporary urban design. We want people to think “Modern design” when they hear “Michigan,” just as they think “country music” when they hear “Nashville.”
The project will begin by documenting Michigan’s design leadership tradition and drawing together Modern resources from around the state—Cranbrook, Eero Saarinen’s General Motors Technical Center, Wayne State’s Minoru Yamasaki buildings, Herman Miller and the West Michigan furniture industry, Alden Dow’s work in Midland, the work of the University of Michigan architecture professors in Ann Arbor, and the influence of auto designer Harley Earl to name a few—to paint the larger Michigan story. The preliminary website at http://www.michiganmodern.org chronicling Michigan’s Modern architecture has already been an overwhelming success.
Once the research has been completed and the story is ready to share, work will begin on making the vision a reality. A new high-design Michigan Modern website will be unveiled. We are already working with local media representatives from WKAR radio in East Lansing and the Detroit Free Press. We will expand our efforts to reach an international audience through print media including glossy magazines such as Dwell and Modernism; electronic media magazines like New American City; and blogs and other social media to reach new and younger audiences with Michigan’s Modern design story. The story will be told through Travel Michigan, convention and visitors’ bureaus, non-profits, businesses and community groups across the state.
Our goals for the project are:
- Michigan will be equated with Modern design providing a new positive, dynamic image for the state.
- Communities will use their Modern design resources to create tourist destinations that will appeal to a new popular niche market and increase tourism revenue.
- The story of Michigan’s outstanding design heritage will show students, artists, and businesses that Michigan is a good place for aspiring designers to live and work which will result in the expansion of the design industry within the state.
- Attract a younger workforce by showcasing Michigan’s dynamic design heritage and the current opportunities available to young entrepreneurs and designers.
- Use the story to build the support needed to preserve Michigan’s Modern buildings.
- Generate a greater appreciation for good design that will lead to better planned communities and encourage creativity in the construction of university, business and community facilities resulting in new architectural masterpieces that will continue to bring attention to Michigan.
This project will provide the research, expertise and knowledge that will help to shape 21st century Michigan and lead to economic growth in the state.