November 27, 2018

Thoughtful and Intentional Design: It’s All in the Details

Whether a space is large or small, simple or complex, thoughtful design considerations allow a space to perform and attention to detail can really tell a great story. The 30-day ‘design pop-up’ in the Foundation Studio, located within The Detroit Foundation Hotel, was the perfect place to share such a narrative. NBS sponsored the set for the podcast “A Drink With…William Clay Ford Jr.” last month, where Mr. Ford shared his thoughts on change and the excitement around the rebirth of Detroit.

To prepare for the event, our Creative Solutions team was tasked with taking the highly visible, street level 11’ x 22’ studio space and transforming it into an intimate, comfortable venue serving as the back drop for the conversation between Bill Ford, Hillary Sawchuk (founder of A Drink With) and Jessica McCall (Goodwill Detroit), all over a cup of joe.

The Foundation Hotel is a historical gem, as the structure was the original Detroit Fire Department Headquarters built in 1929. Careful renovation has preserved the history of the building, showing an appreciation for the past, while harmoniously blending the future with locally sourced industrial and automotive inspired fixtures and furniture pieces. The interior is a funky, eclectic space with an oddly comfortable vibe.

Our furniture and accessory choices needed to evoke this same collected, familiarity. For the interview with Mr. Ford and over the next month, the room needed to act like a functional studio when needed, but- feel like a personal living area that had evolved over time. It became clear that our vision was to ‘embrace the space’ and pay homage to the existing raw interior elements of brick, wood and glass. A beautiful floor-to-ceiling backdrop of gold velvet drapery in the existing studio, set the tone for our color palette and textile choices. Our team partnered with Steelcase to curate a collection of furniture and accessories from various Steelcase brands and partners that combined rich woods, metals and leather. We selected highly tactile materials of wool, faux fur and chunky knits.

The objective was to provide the right mix of textures eliciting a warm, lived in appeal. A collection of pillows and accessories including books, art objects and photographs, were placed on open shelving to evoke a playful and personal response. A modern floor lamp of polished steel and clear glass globes cast a cozy glow over the space during the evening hours. Seating needed to be flexible enough for the interview and at the same time, stylish, comfortable and inviting for daily use. An important design element added to the studio was a personal garden. A variety of succulents, cacti and tropical plants provided greenery and organic texture appealing to the occupant’s emotional health and well-being and allowed us to naturally capitalize on the floor to ceiling sunlight that spilled into the room.

The intentional design choices selected to prompt open, informal conversation and drinks between friends, allowed us to lend our skills and craft, for a brief moment, to tell a short tale about a sliver of space. We were able to capture the essence of time and the evolution of change in our city…proving that the real story is in the making and just starting to be told.

Visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our set in action and the ‘A Drink With’ interview.

– Written by Jill Burton, VP Creative Solutions, NBS Commercial Interiors