Craft & Material Studies
With a little vision, great design and a lot of hard work, a collaboration between the non-profit Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), TAKD Design and General Motors has produced the first shipping container homestead in Detroit. The 320-square-foot container provides living space for up to two people and will house a student caretaker throughout the year to oversee the organization’s farm and conduct agricultural research.
t was an opportunity TAKD Design couldn’t pass up, explained co-founder and creative director Colin Tury ’11, Crafts. The container measures 40 feet long, eight feet wide and 10 feet tall, with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. “We looked at RVs and mobile homes for inspiration,” said Tury, “and figured out the most efficient way to lay out the space. We also used a gray water collection system on the roof and a lot of reclaimed materials throughout.”
The homestead has an outdoor deck space for community events, an aspect of the project that was important to TAKD. “We were sensitive to how the neighborhood would receive it,” Tury said. “You’re tearing down something that was there for 100 years and replacing it with a modern form. So we tried to pay homage in the new design to the home that had originally been there. For example, we used a similar paint color on the container and paid attention to its orientation on the site relative to where the house was. The community surrounding MUFI’s land seems to be excited about it.”
General Motors funded the project and donated much of the reclaimed materials. It’s the kind of project ideally suited to an interdisciplinary outfit like TAKD, founded in 2012 in Detroit with friends while Tury was still a graduate student at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design. He recently returned to the city full time.
“We want to do it all,” he emphasized. “Architecture is great because you have the ability to design the interior and exterior and create a mood. But I also enjoy the smaller objects, things you can interact with. We’re basically open to anything.”
Anything includes home accessories such as TAKD’s handcrafted solid wood bowties, as well as furniture, lighting design and a collaboration with CCS alumna, ceramicist Elysia Vandenbussche, owner of Local Portion. It’s also a nod to Tury’s desire to be both artist and designer. He creates art furniture, and he recently won a competition to redesign Brunswick Billiard’s iconic Gold Crown table — the bestselling billiard table in the world.
“Design is fun because it poses problems that can be solved."
"With art it’s the opposite: it poses the questions we can’t immediately answer, so it motivates me to keep searching, and it informs my design aesthetic, too.”