CLIENT: Carhartt, Inc.
LOCATION: Detroit, MI
The Carhartt Workshop is a first-of-its-kind collaborative community space, located on the second floor of the flagship store on Cass Ave. The core elements of the program are the Community Rooms, the Tool Bench, and the Detroit Lounge. The Community Rooms are multi-media ready spaces that can be rented (free of charge) to host a variety of meetings, training sessions, and workshops. There is also a larger flex space geared towards hosting local organizations. Reflecting Carhartt’s do-it-yourself, hardworking history, the Tool Bench is a free tool rental program for home and community improvement projects. An informal seating area welcomes visitors to learn more about Carhartt’s history in Detroit, which dates back to 1889.
The Community Rooms are multi-media ready spaces that can be rented to host a variety of meetings, training sessions, and workshops. The gathering areas are divided by a large, custom folding door that allows for the spaces to be used as one when needed. Rolling furniture encourages users to organize the seating arrangements as they see fit. Reflecting the company’s do-it-yourself work-ethic, the Tool Bench is a free tool rental program for home and community improvement projects. Reclaimed lumber, blackened steel, and exposed concrete reinforce the tactile nature of skilled labor. A large table intended for in-house workshops and training seminars is located adjacent to the Tool Bench for easy access to tools.
The design of the space was directly informed Carhartt’s core principles of integrity, perseverance, and their ongoing support of skilled tradespeople. This unique synergy of activities was fairly unprecedented, and the design team worked closely with Carhartt to concurrently develop the program and look-and-feel. Local artists and fabricators were engaged to showcase craft, honest use of materials, and ingenuity only found in Detroit.
In addition to the Workshop, an underused portion of the third-floor parking garage was converted into manufacturing space. Currently home to ISAIC Detroit, a non-profit apparel manufacturing group with a social mission, the raw concrete shell is enhanced by new expanses of glazing and large skylights that illuminate workstations with plenty of natural light.