In 2017, Detroit Design Festival called out all designers, makers, creatives to submit ideas to an urban furniture design competition. The goal of the installation was to convey the unique experience of “Design is Everywhere” with the use of inventive and exceptional urban furniture concepts. Concepts were judged based off of innovation, aesthetic design and qualities, form and ergonomics, usability and function, materials and durability. These prototypes were to be displayed throughout designated neighborhoods in Detroit.

One of the designated neighborhoods was Mack Alive, a 25-year old non-profit organization dedicated to the upward mobility of residents in the City of Detroit with a particular focus on residents of the eastside. This neighborhood, formerly described as “dying and the best thing to do is to move residents out to other areas,” is a beacon of light to the community. The mission of Mack Alive is to enhance the growth and development of the east side of Detroit through comprehensive programs and services that educate, empower and elevate the entire community. Community clean-up and neighborhood beautification has been a source of pride for the residents, businesses, and churches of the eastside.

ROGUEHAA spent most of September finalizing the design and constructing the permanent urban furniture installation for the Mack Alive community. Our installation is called (s)itten, named after Johannes Itten, the originator of seven strategies of color combinations within the color wheel. The installation provides multiple angles for seamless comfort on an unconventional use of wood. (s)itten also illuminates from within, enhancing the colors at night.

Approximately 750 cuts of varying length and angles shaping the 4×4 post tops were generated in Rhinoceros 3D program. The 4×4 posts were then primed and painted in a gradient of pink, orange, and yellow colors. A spacer was added in the X and Y direction using additional lumber to create a 3/4” gap. Every post and spacer in the X direction was drilled and a thread rod was pulled through.  Nut and washer at both ends of each row were recessed into the end posts such that there is no chance of injury to user.  Once on site, the location where the bench was to be installed was dug up approximately 8”, leveled  and a crushed gravel base was hand compacted for the bench to sit on.  Crushed gravel ensures good drainage around the bench so that the life span of the bench is prolonged. Each row was then assembled and screwed in place in the Y direction in situ, making sure to add vertical rebar anchor in a few locations to tie the bench to the ground.  Solar powered LED lighting was incorporated within the post spacing to enhance the bright colors during the night as well.

ROGUEHAA is proud to contribute to the UNESCO City of Design and to the Mack Alive community! We were able to add to the beautification of the already vibrant Mack Alive neighborhood. The installation was debuted at Mack Alive (3746 Fischer St. Detroit, MI 48214) as part of the Fischer Street Art Tour for Detroit Design Festival and it is now a permanent furnishing for the entire Mack Alive neighborhood.