Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope founded Design 99 in 2007 to investigate new models of contemporary art and architectural practice. Initially occupying a retail storefront space, the design studio situated itself in the public realm offering over-the-counter design consultations and $99 house call specials. Now working from their homebase in Detroit, projects deal primarily with overlooked spaces, underutilized resources, and seemingly negative conditions inverted to become positive assets. Striking a balance between pragmatism and playfulness, the team continues to investigate the role of art and aesthetics in the community.
Since 2008, Cope and Reichert have been developing the Power House as a test site for ideas and methods, lo- and hi-tech building systems, and a point of conversation for the entire neighborhood.
In 2009, they founded Power House Productions (PHP), a nonprofit organization focused on neighborhood stabilization through art and culture. PHP facilitates the work of artists initiating long-term projects, cultural & recreational programming in the neighborhood.
Design 99 has shown in galleries and museums worldwide including Van Abbemuseum (Netherlands), Smart Museum (Chicago), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and at the Venice Biennale. Their work has been discussed in publications and news outlets ranging from CNN to the New York Times, NPR to Details Magazine. Design 99 was nominated for a USA Artists’ grant in 2010, awarded a Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellowship (2011), won the Jury Award at ArtPrize in 2012, and a Creative Capital grant (2013).