Start Off Detroit Design Month with a Visit to LoveITDetroit

The downtown pop-up exhibit showcases the works of some of the most influential Italian and Detroit leaders of industry.
Silk coat from Mantero Seta // Photos courtesy of LoveITDetroit

Leading Italian designers are displaying their work in a downtown Detroit pop-up just blocks away from the new Gucci store. It’s one of many places to visit during the Detroit Month of Design.

“LoveITDetroit” showcases the works of some of the most influential Italian and Detroit leaders of industry. The schedule of events includes guest speakers in the field of design and an installation with many facets — everything from runway clothing and racecars to household items like furniture and refrigerators. Featured brands include Dolce & Gabbana, Poltrona Frau and Fratelli Rossetti.

There’s even an interactive Metaverse exhibit — guests can create avatars and walk through a virtual simulation of the gallery space.

Architect and designer Roberto Palomba, the exhibit curator, hopes visitors walk away with an updated sense of style, aesthetics and craftsmanship from Italy, he said. He had just visited Italian friends in Livonia when he spoke with Hour Detroit during the press preview on Sept. 1.

A dining table laid out by Milan-based event planner Giorgia Fantin Borghi. Plates by Richard Ginori (designed by Gio Ponti), silverware by Sambonet and chairs by Kartell.

“I was happy to be there…but their vision of Italy is still an old vision,” said Palomba. “We have to bring a different idea of Italy (to Detroit) — more contemporary.”

Palomba’s Milan-based studio Palomba Serafini holds many accolades, including the Compasso d’Oro, a prestigious award for industrial design. He also co-created the 2022 Versace Home Collection, which he previewed at The Firehouse in Corktown this past March.

LoveITDetroit organizers want the space to be more than a design pop-up — they hope to create a vehicle for cultural exchange. The Consulate of Italy in Detroit and the Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan co-organized the monthlong exhibition with this in mind.

Shoes by Fratelli Rossetti

Rai (Italy’s public television station) is bringing a camera crew to the space to shoot a segment about Detroit for their 8 p.m. news slot. Five more Italian television programs are booked to visit this month.

“It’s a two-way communication — having people know more about Italy in Detroit and having people in Italy know more about Detroit,” said Consul Paola Allegra Baistrocchi.

One of the guest speakers during the month, Professor Ruben Abbattista, is the former chief communication officer for Turin, Italy. On Sept. 13 he will discuss how cities can promote themselves through design locally, nationally, and internationally.

Smeg fridge in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana

There are many parallels between Detroit and the city of Turin — it’s the birthplace of Fiat, and sometimes called “Italy’s Motor City.” Additionally, both Detroit and Turin are the sole UNESCO Design Cities for their respective countries.

“(Turin is) very much post-industrial, but it also has amazing Italian architecture,” said Baistrocchi. “In Detroit, you have the beautiful Art Deco, so it’s it’s exactly similar.”

The installation is free and open through Sep. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the ground floor of 1001 Woodward Ave., a building owned by Bedrock. Some speaking events are invite-only or require registration. Visit LoveITDetroit’s website to see the full schedule and register for events.