Ask the Expert: Branding and Design for Your Business Build-Out

It’s important to have good team members around you. (Architects and designers) can save you money because of what we know. – Bryan Cook

In this online panel discussion and presentation, branding experts, architects and designers answer business owners’ pressing questions about designing, building out and refreshing their commercial spaces.

Business owners with existing space and those who are in the planning stages pose questions to our panel of experts:

Meaghan Barry, partner and creative director – Unsold Studio (and recently named one of Crain’s Detroit Business’ Notable Women of Design): “With our clients, we talk about a priority list and a wish list. We identify what is the priority – what will make the most impact.”

Naomi Beasley-Porter, architectural designer – NSPIRD Design Studio: “(Designers) can work together to create a style guide so there are minimum standards in place. It pertains to finishes and quality, so the design is consistent throughout.”

Bryan Cook, registered architect – Berardi Partners: “It’s important to have good team members around you. (Architects and designers) can save you money because of what we know.”

Kenneth Crutcher, registered architect – Crutcher Studio: “If you have a budget, we can work with it, but you have to be upfront and honest about what that budget is.”

These experts have designed some of the best known small commercial businesses in Detroit. Watch to get helpful advice and tips before you build.

This program was featured as a 2020 Detroit Month of Design event with Design Core Detroit.

Welcome New Members!

We’re excited about the new members to our community! Where available, please click on the link at their business name to get more info on how they are creating, innovating and building in Detroit and beyond.

Ray Batra
Shift_Up is a “Learning Gym” that blends the best flexible online courses with professional coaching and community to offer effective and affordable solutions to upgrade your skills—virtually, or in-person.

LJ Golden Realty
Ronita Coleman

Detroit Delivers
Karen Thornton

Phillips Spic & Span Cleaning Service
Lethaniel Phillips & Terry Phillips

Blue Horizon Construction
Kalaya Long

iBartend | V&J Management Group
Veronique Fariala
iBartend is a fun an exclusive “Shake and Sip” bartending class perfect for small groups, celebrations, date night and overall liquor knowledge.

A Bridge of Hope Foundation
Bridgette Schuler

A|Squared Legal Group, PLC
Alari K. Adams

Work Space Spark
Dorethia Kelly

Amesite
Madison Bush

Meet more of our SpaceLab community here.

Architects and Planners Can Create More Equitable Living Environments

On Wednesday, June 17, 2020, the SpaceLab Innovation Center, powered by SpaceLab Detroit, hosted a timely webinar to discuss the role of architecture and urban planning in creating safe, healthy living environments: Toward More Equitable Living Environments: African Americans, Architecture and Planning in the Time of COVID-19. View the video replay of the discussion by clicking the link above. Show notes are below the panelists’ bios.

Cities with majority Black populations like Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. At the end of April, Data Driven Detroit estimated that about one quarter of COVID-19 cases in Michigan were in Detroit despite the city being only 6.7% of the state’s population. APM Research Lab in St. Paul, Minnesota reports that nationwide, African Americans are dying from the virus at three times the rate of white Americans.

Discussion topics included the value placed on Black communities, causes for the disparity in cases of the virus and death rates, ideas for changes to city infrastructure design during and after this pandemic, and how design professionals can adapt to changing environments.

Our Panelists

Kimberly Dowdell, a licensed architect and urban thought leader who is focused on building resilient, healthy and sustainable cities. A native of Detroit, Kimberly’s passion for design as a catalyst for urban revitalization was inspired by childhood experiences in her hometown. She went on to live in Ithaca, Rome, Washington, New York and Boston prior to returning to Detroit in 2015, where she worked on neighborhood-scale reinvestment efforts until her relocation to Chicago in 2019. Kimberly’s professional mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in cities. She believes in building diverse, cross-sector teams to solve our society’s most complicated challenges with a lens towards justice and equity. She is the 2019-2020 National President of National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and a Principal in the Chicago studio of HOK, a global architecture and planning firm.

Andre Perry, PhD, a fellow at Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC., and author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities. Dr. Perry’s research focuses on race and structural inequality, community engagement, education, economic inclusion, and workforce development. He is a frequent contributor to news programming on NBC, National Public Radio, TheGriot.com, CNN, and other national media outlets. (@andreperryedu on Twitter and Instagram and aperry@brookings.edu)

Donald Rencher, Director of Housing and Revitalization with the City of Detroit. Since 2015, he has served the City in multiple roles, including working on mixed income, mixed use development projects and financial underwriting. Prior to working at the City of Detroit, Donald was senior lead counsel to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority where he worked on large-scale, affordable housing development and served over its single-family housing portfolio.

Moderated by: Michael Randall, urban planner and Director of Community Impact at the American Heart Association Detroit. He has devoted his career and life to the development of communities around the country and the world. His expertise includes, but is not limited to, public health, urban planning, housing, community enrichment and financial capabilities. Michael has served on both public and nonprofit boards including the Ypsilanti Planning Commission, the Ypsilanti Library Board of Trustees and Legal Services of South Central Michigan. His entrepreneurial endeavors include co-owning and operating the community enrichment organization, Maureen James Community Enrichment.

Community Partners

Thanks to our Community Partners for this event: City of Detroit Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity; Real Estate Association of Developers (READ); Detroit chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMAD); Design Core Detroit; Noir Design Parti; Detroit chapter of The American Institute of Architects; Urban Land Institute Michigan; and Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative.

page header photo credit: Mike Birdy

Purchase Know Your Price at Source Booksellers, a Detroit Small Business

Purchase online or call to order

Show Notes

Download the Chat

Questions:
Q&A (49:45 – 55:21): We see diversity in public spaces that have an attraction appeal. i.e..Millenium Park. How do we design parks inclusively so that level of diversity is co-existing in neighborhoods? Is this an opportunity for black/LatinX architects to enable this kind of participation? (via Michael R.)


Q&A (56:04): What will it take to provide more section 8 support for Detroit housing? will additional section 8 support encourage developers to invest in Detroit? (via Marla M.)


Q (57:04 – 1:00:42): At what point do we fund our projects with our money from our banks (Credit Unions as well)? One United Bank for example. (via Kendal B.)


Q&A (1:04:04 – 1:05:00): How do you recommend that we tackle explaining these histories and systemic racial practices within our universities architectural history classes? And make sure these community histories of disenfranchisement are kept in mind by designers even at the early stages of their education? (via Ramatoulie S.)


Q&A (1:05:45: 1:06:36): Are the panelists engaged in any real estate development or affordable housing projects? (via Vic B.)

Articles and discussion topics:
Public input to street re-design: Safe Streets’ Are Not Safe for Black Lives (CityLab) (via Kathleen D.)

Buy Back the Block:
Buy the Block
Buy the Block is Building Up Black Communities and Curbing Gentrification One Block at a Time (Black Enterprise)

Additional topics:

  • Credit repair and banking
  • Reparations
  • Opportunity Zones
  • Affordable Housing
  • Cost of homeownership (including insurance and utilities)
  • Practical money skills education

Organizations:
NOMA: National Organization of Minority Architects (via Kimberly D.)

Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD) Community Engagement policy committee is drafting legislation to improve Community Engagement. Too often the engagement process is wanting. If you’re interested in this process please feel free to contact Ruth Johnson of CDAD or take action here. (via Orletta C.)


Habitat for Humanity affiliates are certified credit counselors and assist people with credit repair. (via Elizabeth W.)


U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) certified free credit organizations. (via Katherine W.)


Education:
Home Builders Association of Southeast Michigan (HBA) has scholarships for students heading to or already enrolled in any aspect of construction education. Deadline extended into July. (via Elizabeth W.)


NOMA Detroit Project Pipeline Virtual Summer Camp (via Vic. B.)

Noir Design Parti: Important work and history of minority architects in Detroit is the focus of this Knight Arts Challenge award-winning project. Find out more about our work and support our mission! (via Saundra L.)

Got discussion ideas? Email us at info@spacelabdetroit.com

In Response to Current Events

We are traumatized by the events of the past month. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in any circumstance would sadden us. The fact that they were killed by those who had been sworn to protect them and their communities compounds our grief and causes us to again revisit the injustices in the country we live and love.


We are frustrated and tired of the overt, covert and systematic racism that African Americans live with daily. We will use our platform to provide programming to explore ideas that promote positive change and equity in our communities. We must come together to make the places we live, and our entire country, better.

Karen A.D. Burton, Co-founder & CEO
Bobby Burton, Co-founder & COO

Detroit businesses share good news even during COVID-19 crisis

SpaceLab members are continuing to operate their businesses and serve their clients. Here’s some great news they’ve shared over the past weeks. We hope the good news motivates you to keep moving your business forward.

Member SDG Architects & Planners is architect for the Detroit City Council Committee of the Whole (COW) office renovation in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (CAYMC) – the first renovation of the area in over 40 years. SDG worked with LLP Construction Services on this Design-Build project. 

photo by LLP Construction Services

Izzie LLC has contracted with the City of Highland Park to disinfect and sanitize the city’s four main buildings: Police Headquarters, Fire Department, Robert B. Blackwell Municipal Building, and the Ernest T. For Recreation Center.

Black Girl MATHgic reached a milestone with founder Brittany A. Rhodes giving her first-ever presentation as a full-time “mathpreneur” at the Mid School Math Conference in Santa Fe, NM, the largest middle school mathematics conference in the nation, in early March.

New members LottMetz Crutcher Architecture – a partnership of Grand Rapids-based Lott3Metz Architecture LLC and metro Detroit’s Crutcher Studio, Inc. – came together to propose larger developments in Southeast Michigan and plan to “positively contribute to Detroit’s urban revolution.” Read more on MiBiz >>>

Karen Burton, along with Saundra Little, AIA, spent time with Melissa R. Daniel on her podcast Architecture is Political. The conversation focused on architecture, their Noir Design Parti project, Detroit and entrepreneurship. Listen here >>>

Limited Access at SpaceLab during COVID-19 health crisis includes Mail Processing

SpaceLab logo

Governor Gretchen Whitmer (MI) issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe order for all non-essential businesses that took effect, Tuesday, March 24 at 12:01 a.m. It will be in place for at least three (3) weeks in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

SpaceLab is currently closed for most business activity. However, as a postal agent, we will continue to process mail from the downtown location. We ask all Virtual/Mail customers to schedule mail pickup between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 313-379-7000 or email info@spacelabdetroit.com to schedule.

As always, Members with a keycard or keyfob still have access at both downtown and Seven Mile Road locations should you need to retrieve something. Use your best judgement when entering the space, as regular daily cleaning activity has ceased. Cleaning products and hand sanitizer are still in the space for your use.

There should not be any meetings or gatherings taking place at the downtown or Seven Mile locations.

Additionally, Day Passes have been suspended at both locations until further notice.

As current events and messaging about COVID-19 evolve, we continue to monitor and implement recommendations by government and health officials. We understand how difficult this time is as you continue to operate your business. Please email Bobby or me if you need assistance in any way, and we will do our best to help. See our Support Resources and Events pages for more information.

Karen A.D. Burton

Co-founder and CEO

SpaceLab Detroit

SpaceLab Wants to Connect Online

We want to keep the business and urban innovator community connected and supported, even though we’re physically distant. Many of you had workshops, presentations, exhibits or other events scheduled that had to be canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Anyone interested in meeting online by webconference for 30 minutes with our CEO Karen Burton to share your event, email us your name, phone number and presentation details (an Eventbrite link would work, too), and we’ll work to get you scheduled. Preference will be given to those sharing information on start-ups, business planning, design, construction and development, art and culture, and smart ideas to make our cities better.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

SpaceLab is Open for Business and Operating with Caution

As current events and messaging about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolve, we continue to monitor and implement recommendations by government and health officials, practicing social distancing, postponing live events or taking them online, and following the preventive measures outlined on our website and posted in our offices.

We know that many in our community may be experiencing disruptions in work and regular daily life. As small business owners ourselves, we understand that the current conditions may be especially difficult for SMBs, entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers. While we are taking precautions, SpaceLab’s coworking spaces, offices and meeting rooms remain open for our members and guests. However, we are implementing the following changes for the foreseeable future:

  • Members with a keycard or keyfob will still have access to desk and meeting space and assigned private offices at both downtown and Seven Mile Road locations.
  • Virtual/Mailbox members are asked to schedule their pick up times, either by calling the reception desk or using your mail app.
  • Day Passes for the downtown location are available for download through Eventbrite. We have decreased the number of passes available each day to allow for social distancing (six feet to 10 feet between coworkers).
  • Day Passes have been suspended at the Seven Mile Road location.
  • Meeting rooms for small teams are available for rent, and private offices are available for short-term lease. Call 313-379-7000 or use the “Apply” button on our website to contact us for a reservation.

Our offices are cleaned each evening by a professional cleaning team, disinfected at mid-day, and meeting rooms are disinfected after each use.

SpaceLab wants to keep you connected to a business and urban innovator community. Watch our event calendar for upcoming online events and presentations.

Wishing you health and prosperity,

Karen Burton
Co-founder and CEO
SpaceLab Detroit

SpaceLab’s Preventive Practices against Coronavirus

SpaceLab logo

Updated Monday, March 16, 2020

SpaceLab Members, Guests and Friends:

We request that you join with us in following the preventive measures while working at and visiting SpaceLab locations as outlined below and as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization for the protection of us all.

While SpaceLab is thouroughly cleaned and disinfected every evening by a professional cleaning team and hard surfaces are disinfected during the day by building maintenance, we all need to do our part to reduce the spread of germs throughout the day.

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • If you’ve traveled to a country that has a Level 3 Travel Health Notice (widespread, ongoing transmission), including China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, do not come to SpaceLab. You should stay home for at least 14 days from the time you left that country and practice social distancing. 
  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use at least a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available in SpaceLab’s public areas and restrooms.
  • Antibacterial disinfectant spray and wipes are under the sink and will be in open work areas. 
  • Practice social distancing. Work at least six to 10 feet from the next person.
  • Wipe down your work surfaces, keyboards, arm rests and other surfaces. The cleaning crew will not move anything on your desk. They will only wipe down clear areas.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects, including your mobile phone.
  • Disinfect the kitchen counter and microwave after preparing your food.
  • Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink or on the counter. Place them in the dishwasher or wash them immediately.
  • Put food garbage in the trash receptacles in the kitchen. Rinse out beverage containers and place them in the recycle bins.
  • Disinfect meeting rooms after your meeting, before exiting the room. Wipes or spray will be available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Cover nose or mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing.
  • Choose an alternative to hand-shaking (fist bump, touch elbows, nod, wave). Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

If you haven’t already, consider putting the tips above into practice at home and other places you visit as well.

Additionally:

We have canceled or postponed all upcoming live, in-person events. Watch our event calendar for upcoming online events and presentations.

All visitors should sign in at the reception desk so we can keep a record in case of a local confirmed case. Members, please inform your guests of the sign-in policy, and escort them to your workspace.

Members, please make sure we have your current contact information (email address and mobile number) so that we can contact you in case of emergency.We value your health and safety. Be well!

Karen Burton
Co-founder and CEO
SpaceLab Detroit

Apply for SpaceLab’s Saturday Market, part of the Detroit Black Business Crawl

Saturday, Feb. 22 is the Detroit Black Business Crawl! SpaceLab Detroit is sharing our space with makers, creators and vendors to showcase creative, unique home accessories, clothing, and gifts in our 9th floor event space. Interested food vendors, email karenb@spacelabdetroit.com.

Market hours: 10 AM – 5 PM.

Apply today! Vendors will be will be notified by email or phone call.

We’ll also have free open coworking. Reserve your seat, and bring your ticket. Drop in at a desk, the work bar or work café to work for the day, and network and collaborate with Detroit’s urban innovators, professionals and entrepreneurs.