Commerce Design: Detroit

Commerce Design: Detroit is a competition that raises awareness of and access to professional design services for neighborhood small businesses. It celebrates the impact of commercial design projects in the communities where these businesses reside. The competition will recognize projects, submitted jointly by the business owner and design team, within the City of Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck that have been completed in the last five years. Commerce Design: Detroit encourages investment and growth in commercial corridors throughout city to improve quality of life for residents and visitors while also:

  • Increasing competitiveness of local businesses
  • Growing the market for local design professionals
  • Preserving unique local identity (independent, global) and culture

From Eastside to West, every neighborhood in Detroit has a commercial thoroughfare that is home to shops, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses open to the public. These districts are veins in the heart of the city, serving as gathering places for the local community and creating memorable experiences for visitors from near and far.

Generously supported by: Bank of AmericaHudson-Webber FoundationNew Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan

10 Winners

AIA Detroit and Design Core Detroit are thrilled to officially announce the 10 businesses selected as the winners of the first Commerce Design: Detroit Awards program. The finalists were selected from a highly competitive group of 37 submissions and 18 finalists, representing a broad range of businesses, scales, neighborhoods, and business types.

Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. (Midtown)
Submitted by Owners Jeffrey, Justin, and Joshua Moss, and Design Team D-MET Studio

FOLK Detroit (Corktown)
Submitted by Owners Kiki Louya & Rohani Foulkes, and Designer Christopher Stefani of CL Stefani Co.

Detroit Foundation Hotel (Downtown-Financial District)
Submitted by Owners Aparium Hotel Group & 250 Larned LLC, and Design Team McIntosh Poris Associates

House of Pure Vin (Downtown-Merchants Row)
Submitted by Owners Regina Gaines, Andrea Dunbar, and Terry Mullins, and Design Team M1/DTW

Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles (University District)
Submitted by Owner Ronald Bartell and Designers Joshua Smith of Who’s That? & Jessica Janda of Jessica Janda Design

Lumen Detroit (Downtown-Beacon Park)
Submitted by Owner DTE (managed by Norm LePage), and Design Team Touloukian Touloukian Inc.

New Order Coffee Roasters (Brush Park)
Submitted by Owner Elizabeth Rose, and Design Teams Unsold Studio and Et al Collaborative

Sfumato Fragrances (Midtown)
Submitted by Owners Jane Larson & Kevin Peterson, and Designer Paul Karas of Ware Mfg.

TAKOI (Corktown)
Submitted by Owners Philip Kafka & Chef Brad Greenhill, and Design Team Undecorated

The Commons (Islandview)
Submitted by Owner Ezekiel Harris of MACC Development, and Design Team Laavu Studio

18 Finalists



Commerce Design has been globally recognized as an innovative and effective tool for encouraging investment in commercial corridors. A collaborative project between UNESCO Cities of Design Detroit and Montreal, the initiative is built around a competition developed by Montréal in 1995 to promote the benefits of investing in the design and working with design professionals to local merchants and restaurant owners.

What's Next?

People's Choice: Now it's time for you to tell us which is your favorite project. Cast your vote here!

Design Tour: We will be hosting a special tour of the winners on December 1 as part of our Drinks x Design series. Tickets go on sale November 7.