Newlab at Michigan Central

Civilian has overseen the interior design and served as architectural design consultants for Newlab at Michigan Central, a new space in Detroit, Michigan dedicated to startups, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists focused on the future of mobility.

Originally a post office and mail-sorting facility, and then used as the Detroit Public Schools’ Book Depository, the historic Albert Kahn-designed Art Deco landmark first built in 1936 has been transformed into a state-of-the-art center for innovation and technology. Working closely with Gensler, architect of record for the project, Civilian has reimagined the interiors of the 270,000 sq ft building into a dynamic workplace with unexpected adjacencies and visual connections between production spaces, work and public spaces to foster a sense of transparency, connection and collaboration.

In approaching the ambitious adaptive reuse project, Civilian worked in dialogue the architecture to create an environment that highlights Kahn's influence in the region as well as his foundational role in shaping the look of the modern world. Throughout the project, the studio combined American design classics from iconic Michigan-based furniture brand MillerKnoll with a carefully considered selection of refinished vintage and custom-made furniture, and commissioned contemporary pieces made with local manufacturers.

A longstanding collaborator of Newlab, Civilian's Nicko Elliott also oversaw the interiors of Newlab's flagship location in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2016 and at 77 Washington Street.