Fisher Building signs homage to neighborhoods

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit – New Center’s most famous building is paying homage to the rest of Detroit.

The names of Detroit’s 105 neighborhoods have been embossed on brass signs around the building’s base to celebrate people and places across the city’s 139 square miles.

“Signs of Times” is the third addition to the Fisher Beacon Project completed by The Platform, a real estate developer promoting the resurgence of Detroit neighborhoods. The first was “Maker City,” a photographic tribute celebrating Detroit’s makers and innovators in November 2016, and the second was the Fisher Halfpipe that was installed in the skyscraper’s lobby in April for four days of stunts by skateboarders and rollerbladers.

“Every person — from every walk of life — should feel welcome at the Fisher Building and should feel ownership of this iconic symbol of Detroit,” said Dietrich Knoer, president and CEO of The Platform, in a press release. “The new exterior signs are an invitation for Detroit residents to identify with the Fisher Building as the ‘Beacon of Detroit.’ ”

The Fisher Building also will open a maker space collective shop in the coming months in its concourse. MKR Underground will be an extension of MKR City, a company that produces an app connecting innovators seeking to enhance communities.

The shop will bring in a dozen artists, designers and artisans from all over Detroit to sell their locally produced work. The initiative comes after The Platform converted the fourth floor of the Fisher Building into design studios for artists at subsidized rates in August.

“This is the new wave of development,” Everard Findlay, global brand strategist and chief innovation officer for The Platform, said in a release. “These signs, and the MKR Underground collective, support cross-collaboration and deep engagement, making space for the people who make Detroit what it is — people who have captured the world’s imagination through their creativity, raw talent and grit.”

The Fisher Building, known as “Detroit’s largest art object,” was built by the seven brothers who founded the Fisher Body Company and opened on Sept. 1, 1928. Designed by Albert Kahn, the 441-foot tower was once known as the Cathedral to Commerce and is home to WJR Radio, the Fisher Theatre and Club House Tavern.

The Underground makers will join shops already there, including The Peacock Room, Yama, Stella, Detroit Gallery of Contemporary Crafts and a new floral shop, Pot and Box.

“Our aim is to be in real relationships with the people who have been here through good times and bad, and to create a symbiotic relationship with newcomers,” Knoer said. “Our hope is to learn more about, and to showcase, the incredible talent and works of Detroiters here at the Fisher.”

Detroiters are invited to take selfies in front of their neighborhood sign and represent their community by sharing on social media with the hashtag #MyDetroitNeighborhood.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_