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

18 Finalists

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



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?

October: The Jury Prizes will be awarded at a special evening ceremony attended by hundreds of guests.

November: The public will be invited to visit the 10 winning businesses, while the designers are on hand to chat about their creative process and ideas. The public will then have a chance to vote for their favorite from among the 10 winners. The People’s Choice award will be announced online.