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Beacon Park’s Latest Art Installation Features Ideas Aimed at Improving Detroit Neighborhoods

Design Core At Beacon Park
Design Core At Beacon Park 2
Design Core At Beacon Park 3

Three interactive and prototypic designs that imagine ways to improve the safety and walkability of Detroit neighborhoods currently dot the perimeter of Beacon Park, the public common along Grand River Avenue in The District Detroit.

The installation debuted in September as part of Design Core Detroit’s Month of Design, an annual celebration of the city’s role as a national and global design capital.

Design Core Detroit, a program of the College for Creative Studies (CCS) since 2010, helps grow and attract design businesses and to help tell the city’s design story globally. The organization supports Detroit as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) City of Design designation. In February, the organization announced the inaugural international City of Design competition supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The effort challenged 31 UNESCO Cities of Design to create protypes that could improve Detroit neighborhoods.

The organization in June selected three winners out of 26 submissions from across the world. They include: “CYCLERATE” by SmithGroup, “Garden Novella” by Detroit-based firm Other Work and “3Rooms” by design company Collectif Escargo of Montreal, Canada. The judges evaluated the protypes based on “creative merit, appropriateness of solution for location and value for cost,” ultimately awarding each winner $20,000 for the design and implementation of the prototype.

SmithGroup's proposal, "CYCLERATE," aims to enhance public safety “through unity, lighting, communication and play.” The display lights up using kinetic energy generated by hand-powered cranks and stationary bike generators, and also features LED lights, Bluetooth speakers and USB chargers. Notably, the Detroit-based global firm contributed to the design of the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University, the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion and landscape architecture projects in The District Detroit.

Garden Novella, directly across from the Grand Army Republic (G.A.R.) building, features sun powered lanterns, hanging gardens, seating and the ability to record stories by residents. The structure aims to express the “cultural, collective and individual identity” of the bilingual community where it will later be installed.

The final display, “3Rooms,” consists of three rooms (‘’Le Jardin,” ‘’Le Boudoir’’ “The Hut”) that illuminate in the evening and represent the world of the house in effort to convey a sense of belonging and the beauty of united communities.

The last day to experience the interactive prototypes at Beacon Park is Sunday, Oct. 13 any time during park hours, which are 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. The displays will then be relocated to Hope Village (CYCLERATE), Southwest Detroit (Garden Novela) and Grandmont Rosedale (3Rooms) neighborhoods for four months starting in spring 2020.

About The District Detroit 

Home to the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Lions, The District Detroit is the epicenter of sports and entertainment in the heart of the city and includes seven incredible theaters. It is the densest concentration of the four major sports teams in any urban core in the country.  It is a place with something for everyone fueling Detroit’s resurgence and attracting new investment in the city.  Anchored by Comerica Park and the historic Fox Theatre, The District Detroit is home to the award-winning Little Caesars Arena, the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and the new Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion. Little Caesars Arena features four shopping and dining establishments: Mike’s Pizza Bar, Sports & Social Detroit, Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit, District Market and Team Store—as well as office space for Google, 313 Presents and the Detroit Red Wings. New businesses coming to The District Detroit include Tin Roof Detroit, The M Den, Frita Batidos, Rush Bowls, Sahara Restaurant and Grill, Union Joints, Detroit Medical Center and Warner Norcross & Judd.  The District Detroit has brought more than 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs for Detroiters and Michiganders to this area of the city, resulting in an estimated $2.1 billion in total economic impact.