The Open House was a historic occasion for Ford to announce its renewed commitment to the city of Detroit with the purchase and future renovation of Michigan Central Station. The public was invited to celebrate, and tour the interior of this iconic piece of architecture. This event was the first time the building had been open to the public in over 30 years.
Civic commissioned Red Paper Heart to concept and design the interior experience, museum gallery and community area. In researching the station, it became clear that that Michigan Central Station has always been a barometer for how the city is doing. The optimism leading to the stations opening in 1914 has a surprisingly strong correlation with the current mood in Detroit.
The interior experience invited Detroiters to explore their history, culture and presence and an installation that mixes the dreams of the Detroit’s past residents, with a platform that lifts the hopes and goals of Detroit’s current residents for what their city’s future will be. Because ultimately this is a story best told by the people of Detroit.
At the event, you could peruse moments from history at digital stations flanking the main hall. As you read through history, and view images, words move off the screen onto the grand arches and ultimately culminating in a 65 ft barrel vaulted ceiling. You also had the chance to write your ideas for the future of Detroit, what it looks like, and what the community needs. All these ideas become collaged beautifully together on the ceiling. The final composition blends moments of history with the voice of the community.
Red Paper Heart designed the interior of the entire space using a scaffolding-based design language to signify the excitement of the beginning of a construction project and to not hide the true beauty of this building. Vintage spotlights lit the architecture in a special old world glamour. You can explore the gallery which chronicles life and culture in Detroit, that was also interspersed with historically matching shots of the station to parallel the social barometer that the building has become for Detroit. Beginning with the station’s grand opening, to times of war, to its fall from grace, and now at its rebirth.
The response from the opening was overwhelming, the revitalization of the station means so much to residents of Detroit, it was an honor to be part of this project. It was truly #fordetroit
Ford - Client
Civic - Agency
Red Paper Heart
Zander Brimijoin - Creative Director
Daniel Scheibel - Technical Director
LIsa Walters - Executive Producer
Greg Schomburg - Lead Developer
Donald Richardson - Sr Developer
Shuvashis Das - Creative Coder
Neely Lisk - Producer
James Ramirez - Art Director
Ting Cheng - Design Intern
Danni Huang - Design Intern
Wen-Chi Huang - Design Intern
Nathan Punwar - Video Editing
DE-YAN - Industrial Design
Bluewater AV - AV Production
Ohrenkunst - Sound Design
Wild Free Studios - Photo/Video Documentation
Britten - Print Production and Fabrication