Detroit designs the futureTue, 04 Dec 2012
Every time I walk into the College for Creative Studies here in Detroit, I am completely blown away by the students' talent level.
Recently I went to CCS, as we call it around here, for the Michelin Challenge Design. You can see the work here.
It's inspiring, to me at least, when I think of all the young people toiling away there, excited about cars and car design. I love that they are thinking hard about the industry's future and working hard to make sure we actually have one.
At CCS students can major in everything from transportation design to advertising to photography to illustration. I've been to various student shows there and the work just gob smacks me every time.
The joint is a Detroit institution. It's been around since 1906 and was originally started by a group of Detroit civic leaders that formed the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. The society's mission was to keep beauty and craftsmanship alive in what was rapidly becoming an industrialized world. What a great mission! They started teaching informal classes in basic design, drawing and woodcarving. Five years later they opened a gallery where students as well as prominent modern artists displayed and sold their work.
The rest, as they say, is history and today CCS is considered one of the top design schools in the world. It attracts, develops and retains talent in the creative industries; spurs research in sustainable product development; and creates jobs and new business opportunities
I love to wander the CCS halls and just look at the work (I try to do that every couple months), whether I'm in the transportation department, the ad design school or the illustration area. It's all amazing.
A few years ago CCS did something I thought was terribly important, spending a cool $145 million (our boss, Keith Crain, spearheaded that fundraising) to rebuild and restore the Albert Kahn-designed Argonaut Building, which was General Motors' first research and design studio. CCS believed preserving that landmark was important and I couldn't agree more.
Today it stands as a stunning 760,000-square-foot multi-floor classroom called the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, housing CCS' undergraduate and graduate design and transportation departments. The top floor is Harley Earl's old offices—in fact the turntable where Earl and his staff studied future GM designs is still there and it works. How cool is that?!
There's also the Henry Ford Academy School for Creative Studies, a charter school for middle- and high-school students that teaches them art and design. So they're starting them young over there.
If you are ever in Detroit, it's definitely worth a look.
Great to know the auto industry's future is in such good hands.
By Wes Raynal