First Trade Day of 2020 brings Interior Products to Downtown Detroit

Interior designers, architects, developers and contractors had the opportunity to view the latest interior products and touch and feel the materials they’ve viewed online while specifying for upcoming projects. Manufacturers representatives we available to give expert advice for application and installation of flooring, carpet, VCT, tile, porcelain tile, acoustical products, lighting, contract furnishings, and more.


Bishop Distributing
Dwyer Marble & Stone
Davis Corporate Solutions
R.T. Smith Furniture
Beaver Tile
MDC Interior Solutions

Mackintosh Contract

3form, Inc. presented the continuing ed workshop, Everything Is Acoustic, overview for architects and interior designers. The workshop included a brief history of acoustics, an in-depth look at acoustic applications, and strategic acoustic design case studies. Additionally, the course addressed key acoustic terminology to aid in the process of specifying acoustic projects.

To participate in upcoming Trade Days, contact Doreen Hunter for more information:, or call 313-379-7000.

SpaceLab 2019 Year in Review

SpaceLab Members and Collaborators are City Designers, Builders and Subject Matter Experts. 

Among our 2019 signature presentations were Build Out to Open: What to do before building your brick and mortar; Ask the Architects and Designers; and Smart Cities, Smart Citizens. Click each presentation title to hear the discussions.

We continue to showcase new and cutting-edge building products and technology solutions.  

Industry leaders deliver presentations and continuing education workshops at our lunch and learns and tech happy hours. Business building workshops include topics such as sales, marketing and social media, and financial planning. See our first event of 2020 >>>

SpaceLab 7Mile opened August 9th!

We collaborated with Detroit Cabinet Manufacturing to create a neighborhood building and coworking hub. National and city leaders helped us cut the ribbon, and architects, contractors, finance professionals and the Detroit Land Bank Authority were on hand to share how to develop property in the city. Story here >>

We value community partnerships and education.

We support STEAM education by sponsoring events with POWEROrg Math and Excel Village; business education with University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship students; and veteran-owned businesses by hosting Bunker Labs. We spread holiday cheer by donating gifts to Mercado Food Hub and Michigan Foster Care Closet.

Our corporate and industry partnerships and collaborations provide value to our members and the professional community.

Partnerships with companies like Davis Corporate Solutions, Patcraft, Detroit Institute of Bagels, and Sprint bring added value to membership at SpaceLab. We collaborate with industry organizations such as the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), Urban Land Institute Michigan (ULI), National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC), American Institute of Architect Detroit (AIA), Design Core Detroit, Noir Design Parti, and many others to offer programming and events to the professional community.

Our CEO Karen Burton completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program with a dynamic cohort of metro Detroit business owners.

Also, we appeared on CBS Eye on Detroit and the Very Detroit radio show and in Sisters from AARP, The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, Model D, and Curbed Detroit. Read how SpaceLab began and Karen’s thoughts on entrepreneurship and diversity and inclusion in design and construction >> (opens in a new tab)”>here >>>

Bobby Burton on Opening and Owning a Coworking Space

SpaceLab’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent 2018 summer intern Micah Womack spoke with our co-founder and COO Bobby Burton about owning a business and his vision for the company. 

Can you tell me about your company?

My company is SpaceLab Detroit, and we are a coworking space in downtown Detroit. We opened a little over a year ago. I’m blessed to say that we’ve leased all of our private office space, and we have a number of members in our shared office space. We focus on the construction and design industries – the majority of our members are in those fields.spacelab-17-bobby2.jpg

Walk us through your management strategy?

To build relationships with our customers. One of the hardest things to do is customer retention, yet it is most valuable things to do as a business. There’s nothing better than having long term customers, particularly customers who speak well of you. Customer relationships are very important. You want to make sure those are strong, and you meet your customer needs.

What’s the best feedback you’ve received from a client?

How much they enjoy the sense of community. The quality of the work environment at SpaceLab.

What’s your growth plan? What areas are you targeting?

Well, what I want to do is expand beyond coworking and to get more involved in the actual construction and development fields themselves. Coworking is a nice start, it’s a way to bring people together. Particularly, I want to help grow African-American construction contracting firms. There’s a huge opportunity in Detroit, and there’s a big demand that’s not being met.

What’s the biggest item on your to do list now?

We want to develop more relationships in the contractor arena.

What technology are you using?

A lot of web-based and cloud-based tools – that’s kind of where the industry going. Automation is huge in any businesses. It’s an easy way for a small business to look large and for a small business to increase their profits and to provide services that they couldn’t provide otherwise. We have a software package called Nexudus specifically tailored for coworking spaces. It allows us to manage our billing and our space, particularly our conference room space, and it allows our customers to manage the space for themselves. They can make their own bookings and pay their bills without having to interact with us.

What was your “breakthrough” project?

Completing SpaceLab’s build out in June of 2017. Opening the doors was the biggest.

What was your favorite project to do?

Wow, I mean going back into my days in I.T. (information technology), it was delivering new applications with new functionally to our customers. That was always fun and exciting.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their own business?

Patience. Patience, and one of the things you have to have is a cushion. When you start a business, you’re going to struggle at first, so you need to have a good, solid financial plan and a financial cushion so you can make sure you can carry yourself through until time your money starts to come in and your business starts to become profitable.

A Summer of Learning, Growing and Coworking

Micah Womack is a 17-year-old rising senior at Detroit Collegiate Preparatory at Northwestern High School. Next summer she graduates, but this summer she spent six weeks as an intern at SpaceLab through the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent (GDYT) program. As a Motor City Match (MCM) business, SpaceLab was excited to participate through GDYT and MCM’s partnership. Micah wrote the post below at the end of her internship with us. We’ll be posting more of her work – interviews that she conducted with SpaceLab’s Bobby Burton and some of our coworking member companies – and we hope to work with her again.

Today I’m here to tell you about my summer. This summer was amazing; I couldn’t ask for a better one. While kids my age were staying up late I had to go to bed at 10. While the kids my age were out late, I was in the house getting ready for the next day.

Micah was encouraged to read about professionals who are excelling.

My favorite part of my summer was the first day I walked into SpaceLab. I was welcomed, and I felt like this where I belong in the future. Working at SpaceLab is something I love doing. I met new people and learned new things. I can honestly can say I learned a lot from this wonderful experience. Before this job I couldn’t tell you one thing about architecture, now I can give you a thousand and one facts about it.

I have learned about new websites that I never heard of: Eventbrite, Hootsuite, Doodle and many more. Everyone who knows me knows I love to work on Canva, but I actually didn’t use Canva that much. I learned to use different websites such as the ones I just named. I also learned how to set up Lunch and Learns and to set up calendars for sharing and coordinating events. This workplace has shown me a lot, and not just all on the computer. I learned about different companies and what they do, when they first became a company, and about the people.

The people who I was surrounded with this summer, who work in SpaceLab, were amazing. Every morning I was greeted with a “Hello” or “Good morning.” When I first started out, I felt like I was just going to work and wanted to get it over with. But as I really got used to it, I actually loved waking up in the morning, taking a 30-minute bus ride and a 5-minute walk just to get here.

Micah with SDG Associates VP Wesley Sims after she completed The Wright Museum building block set.

There are a lot of wonderful people walking about in SpaceLab. They’re always smiling and working. I didn’t think that I would gain so much information, but before I left I learned different things from Berardi+ (architecture firm), from WolfVR (virtual reality company), and from SDG (architecture firm). I wish I could have interviewed everyone, but I kind of read everyone from the way they dressed, walked, or smiled. If I could go down the list and name everybody in this building I would, but here are the ones I’ll remember most: Louis, Michal, Mark, Bryan, Naomi, Valentina, Melvin, Andrew, and Ms. Doreen. For the most part, I’m going to really miss Mrs. Karen and Mr. Bobby. Since I’ve been here, they have made this job experience amazing – they taught me so much.

Mrs. Karen taught me always follow your heart and your dreams, and everything will fall in place. Mr. Bobby taught me to believe in yourself even when nobody does, and never let anybody’s opinion change your thought or opinion on something. I just want to thank them for this experience that they gave me. They really showed me a lot. They took me on a wonderful college tour and showed me different aspects of the school and business life.

Thank y’all for having me around for these amazing six weeks. I’m going to truly miss y’all and being here.

Museum Building Block Sets Created by SDG Associates

By Wesley Sims
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial and Operating Officer

SDG Associates, LLC

_DSC5896 (1)   In tribute to the amazing father and founding architect, Howard F. Sims, FAIA, his son Wesley and SDG Associates, LLC are excited to announce the creation of Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History building block sets. These unique custom interlocking blocks celebrate the rich history of Howard Sims as well as the magnificent museum that his firm, known as Sims-Varner and Associates at that time, designed in the late 1990’s.

lego_old_look   This custom set includes a commemorative booklet, and lets you build the iconic museum and prized landmark of Detroit’s cultural landscape. A limited number of sets are available at the Charles H. Wright museum gift shop for purchase.

Please help us to celebrate one of Michigan’s oldest minority architecture firms, and a Detroit based business for over 50 years, as we memorialize on of its most famous works into the realm of Legomania!


VM3 Plans Workforce Development Career Fair [Updated Info]

Registration form

VM3 Construction is leading a workforce development initiative, with the support of several organizations in Detroit, with the objective to provide a continuous supply of qualified Detroit-resident candidates for construction jobs in the city. The company will jointly host several events, including an outreach for a large VM3 construction project over the next 6 months. Opportunities will be highlighted for contractors and developers to take on new hires from pre-apprenticeship training programs with subsidies to help during on-the-job training periods.

VM3’s first event is a Career Fair to highlight recent graduates of a skilled trades pre-apprenticeship program (covering all trades) and to engage an audience of new entrants to the construction industry. Our target for new entrants includes a heavy focus on, but is not limited to:

1) Veterans

2) Returning Citizens

3) Women

4) Youth (over 18)

5) Unemployed

6) Future Pipeline- Youth under 18 (High school and Junior high)

The date is June 20th, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Samaritan Center, 5555 Conner in Detroit. To participate, please complete the registration form (see link at beginning of post), and indicate positions you will hire.

Alisha M. Moss, CEO & Founder

Valerie D. Holman,

Sr. Project Coordinator|Business Operations Manager

VM3 Construction, LLC |

313-701-7997 |

VM3 Construction Logo 2017

SpaceLab’s Karen Burton appears on American Black Journal with Stephen Henderson

During National Small Business Week, SpaceLab’s CEO and Community Manager Karen Burton appeared on American Black Journal with host Stephen Henderson. She was part of a discussion with Detroit’s business owners, Regina Gaines of House of Pure Vin and Sanya Weston of Your Premier Travel Service. Watch the segment below.

Celebrating the Win! Members’ Successes January 2018

M Contemporary Art has opened a new gallery in Ferndale at 205. E. 9 Mile Rd. Stop in and tell Melannie Chard hello, and check out the latest exhibition, “Pulp,” opening Friday, January 26. Melannie curates the art at SpaceLab. Our latest installment features artist John McLaughlin.

Berardi + Partners has been named architect for a new $30 million mixed-use development in Sterling Heights by the Chaldean Community Foundation. The project includes 200 apartments that will meet the housing needs for new Americans. Read more at Crain’s Detroit Business

POWER Org Math was given a $2,000 grant from Comerica Bank for its Math and Financial Empowerment Series for families with youth ages 10-16. The program aims to improve math skills and practices related to money management, consumer awareness, banking, and stocks.

SpaceLab Adviser David Tarver has been busy since becoming Senior Counselor to the Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Wayne State University. He’ll be the next featured speaker for the Google Startup Grind on Tuesday, February 6, and he’ll soon announce an exciting Spacelab opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to develop a for-profit business that addresses the needs of urban communities. Read the latest Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative news here.

VM3 Consulting has been accepted into the very first cohort of Capital Impact Equitable Development Initiative. The two-year program will better ensure that Detroit’s pool of developers truly reflect the city’s diversity and that minority developers are able to participate in revitalization efforts. Only five developers were accepted for the initial cohort.

Wolf VR‘s realistic architectural and interior renderings were featured in the sales and marketing promotions for 64 Watson, a new luxury condominium development consisting of five private residences ranging in price from $312,000 to $883,00 in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood. The project sold out within a week of the initial listing. See the dbusiness article.

Adam and Natalie Davis of Davis Corporate Solutions welcomed a new baby boy, James, on December 17, 2017. Everyone is doing great! We’re excited to meet the little one.

Karen Burton, SpaceLab’s CEO, was featured in The Hub Detroit along with Saundra Little, AIA and their project, Noir Design Parti. The Knight Arts Challenge-winning project chronicles the careers and work of Detroit’s African-American Architects. The duo will present A Brief History of Detroit’s Black Architects on Monday, February 19 as part of the American Institute of Architects – Detroit’s monthly program.

On the first Thursday of each month, SpaceLab members and guests gather to Celebrate the Win – new clients, new business, birthdays, good press – accomplishments and milestones big and small.

Happy National Spouses Day

National Spouses Day is celebrated January 26th. Work-love integration brings special benefits – and a few unique challenges. Happy Spouses Day to our work-linked and business partner couples growing their businesses together here at SpaceLab Detroit.

(Pictured clockwise, from top left):

Bobby & Karen Burton – SpaceLab Detroit/ Space Lab Development, Inc.

Adam & Natalie Davis – Davis Corporate Solutions

Juvon & Alexis Bragg – Whatever Technology Group

Alisha & Jelani Moss – VM3 Consulting & VM3 Construction

Veronica & Leon Petty – Live Life Vacations & Go Green Contracting (not pictured)