For Detroit is an interactive art installation and interior experience by Red Paper Heart for The Open House, Ford’s announcement of the purchase and future renovation of Michigan Central Station

For Detroit

“By renovating a symbol of the city’s decline, [Ford] hopes to create a magnet for the talent needed to prevail in the next automotive era.” - New York Times

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The Open House was a historic occasion for Ford to announce its renewed commitment to the city of Detroit with the purchase and future renovation of Michigan Central Station. The public was invited to celebrate, and tour the interior of this iconic piece of architecture. This event was the first time the building had been open to the public in over 30 years.

  • “More than 20,000 sign up for Detroit train station tour; it’s booked”

Civic commissioned Red Paper Heart to concept and design the interior experience, museum gallery and community area. In researching the station, it became clear that Michigan Central Station has always been a barometer for how the city is doing. The optimism leading to the stations opening in 1914 has a surprisingly strong correlation with the current mood in Detroit.

The interior experience invited Detroiters to explore their history, culture and presence and an installation that mixes the dreams of the Detroit’s past residents, with a platform that lifts the hopes and goals of Detroit’s current residents for what their city’s future will be. Because ultimately this is a story best told by the people of Detroit.

A visitor watches the animation on the ceiling through a mirror that is placed in the center of the enormous room
As you read through history, and view images on the iPad Apps, words move off the screen onto the grand arches, always in synch with your scrolling
Visitors were invited to browse through the history of Michigan Central Station as well as to add their own hopes and dreams
The projection on each arch could be controlled by up to 3 people
The final composition blends moments of history with the voice of the community

At the event, you could peruse moments from history at digital stations flanking the main hall. As you read through history, and view images, words move off the screen onto the grand arches and ultimately culminating in a 65ft barrel vaulted ceiling. You also had the chance to write your ideas for the future of Detroit, what it looks like, and what the community needs. All these ideas become collaged beautifully together on the ceiling. The final composition blends moments of history with the voice of the community.

A pop up museum curated by the Detroit historical Society showing the historical significance of architectural icon that is Michigan Central Station
The design of the interior space uses a scaffolding-based design language to signify the excitement of the beginning of a construction project and to not hide the true beauty of this building
Vintage spotlights lit the architecture in a special old world glamour.
Artwork was placed in all around the scaffolding, inviting guest to explore the space from all angles
Vintage spotlights lit the architecture in a special old world glamour.
Ford marketing activation installation at Michigan Central Station.

Red Paper Heart designed the interior of the entire space using a scaffolding-based design language to signify the excitement of the beginning of a construction project and to not hide the true beauty of this building. Vintage spotlights lit the architecture in a special old world glamour. You can explore the gallery which chronicles life and culture in Detroit, that was also interspersed with historically matching shots of the station to parallel the social barometer that the building has become for Detroit. Beginning with the station’s grand opening, to times of war, to its fall from grace, and now at its rebirth.

  • “Today I am extremely proud to be a Detroiter”
  • “The light from the ghosts of our past help us remember what is to come”
  • “It was a truly magical experience. Thank you @ford”

The response from the opening was overwhelming, the revitalization of the station means so much to residents of Detroit, it was an honor to be part of this project. It was truly #fordetroit

The response from the opening was overwhelming, the revitalization of the station means so much to residents of Detroit, it was an honor to be part of this project. It was truly #fordetroit

Team

  • Zander Brimijoin - Creative Director
  • Daniel Scheibel - Technology Director
  • Lisa Walters - Executive Producer
  • Neely Lisk - Producer
  • Greg Schomburg - Lead Developer
  • Donald Richardson - Sr Developer
  • Shuvashis Das - Developer
  • James Ramirez - Art Director
  • Ting Cheng - Design Intern
  • Danni Huang - Design Intern
  • Wen-Chi Huang - Design Intern
  • Nathan Punwar - Video Editor
  • ---
  • DE-YAN - Industrial Design
  • Ohrenkunst - Sound Design
  • Bluewater AV - AV production
  • Wild Free Studios - Photo and Video Footage
  • Britten - Print Production and Fabrication

Created for Ford

  • Civic - Agency