Detroit design companies to appear in French exhibition


  • Photo by Detroit Creative Corridor Center

Detroit design firms will appear in next year's Saint-Etienne Design Biennale, whose theme will be the 'future of work.' The Biennale is expected to attract 140,000 visitors from across Europe. 

Detroit and Saint-Etienne, a city in east central France, have each been designated a UNESCO "city of design." Detroit was the first U.S. city to receive this recognition. 

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center is partnering with The Work Department, a Detroit-based, all-women design firm, to create a multimedia exhibit on the future of work, according to Crain's Detroit Business

Libby Cole, a member of The Work Department, said, "The French want to know what is unique about Detroit." 

Other firms that will be featured in the exhibition include Akoaki, a design studio that explores collective urban interventions, and Creative Many Michigan, an organization that emphasizes research and advocacy for creativity across various industries. 

Akoaki co-founder Anya Sirota noted that Detroit hasn't had an arts council for more than a decade. It is hoped that conversations in France will lead to the creation of a new one for the city. 

Creative Many Michigan will use research on U.S. work patterns as a launching point for discussions with international partners. Cezanne Charles, director of creative industries, said that Creative Many Michigan "will look at future scenarios - seeing that 40 percent of jobs are vulnerable to automation." 

Other installations in Saint-Etienne will examine Detroit music culture and urban farming. The exhibitions will be supplemented by a number of dialogues, performances, and cultural experiences that comment on the changing nature of work. 

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