On Friday, January 17th, after the Detroit Auto Show Charity Black Tie was well underway, people in tuxes and gowns starting leaving and heading towards New Center to mix with people in t-shirts and cocktail dresses. Why? Because the week’s newest and best auto show party was happening in an area once know for blind pigs in a place that used to be called Black Bottom. More than 500 people attended as the party brought together the formal auto industry, Detroit’s creative community and gear heads of all shapes and sizes in a benefit for a relatively unknown local Museum.
Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ is billed as The Fight Club of Design.
Artists, illustrators, industrial, product and car designers and others came together in a very public setting to compete head to head for the title of Sketchmaster!
According to founder and Chief Executive Brook Banham, the party celebrates the end of a week full of stuffy-auto-show-events with an underground party of epic proportions, sort of the anti-event.
Frank Schwartz, Managing Director explained “This year we brought together cars, music and art under one roof to watch a bunch of talented people compete in a fun but pressure-filled environment, and to judge how they perform”.
Could it be a Sketchbattle with the pressure of Emcee Satori Circus screaming at you is a much better way to vet design candidates than a thousand-hour Coroflot portfolio?
Judging the event this year was Kyle Evans, formerly of Ford and Chrysler and now owner of his own Design Studio. Robert Walker, Chief Designer of Jeep Interiors also joined us. Robert is probably best know for the newest JEEP Grand Cherokee interior. Finally, Craig Mackiewicz, Design Studio Lead for Altair/Thinklabs and IDSA Michigan Chair offered his insights.
In the first round of the competition the contestants were given a design brief – “Use the recent advances in lighting technology to create a headlamp theme that helps brand a vehicle”.
The field was then narrowed to 3 finalists who after a break, sat down again to sketch in the final round.
And the winner is:
All the while the competition was going on in the Tangent Gallery, next door at the Hastings Street Ballroom DJ Slide 91 was delivering tunes ……. as guests partied around classic and modified vehicles provided by Classic Design Concepts, Midwest Motorclub and select individuals.
We should not forget the event was a benefit for the Kunsthalle Museum of Contemporary Art. The evening raised over $500 for the museum.
The theme of lighting was chosen as the Design Brief for the contestants because the museum has numerous neon and lighting installations. Unfortunately at the last minute a pipe burst at the museum and we lost some of the square footage. If you would like to make a donation to the museum, please click this link.
So with the number of RSVP’s in the hundreds, the team at Middlecott Design and AACS enlisted the aid of the volunteers and had 48 hours to find a alternative venue. Which makes this an awesome time to call out the Staff and volunteers for all their hard work. Middlecott, Kunsthalle and AACS would like to specifically thank Blue for his organization skills and making the VIP room awesome, Robert-David for the tunes, Pete and Katie for the drinks and food, Jessica, Abbie and Lauren for serving as hostesses, Kaiya in the coat room, Allison for her marketing and photos and Jon for his photos.
Events cannot happen like this without awesome Sponsors.
We should start with Quality Metalcraft for the awesome trophy, Traffic Jam & Snug for the beer, Mister DiMaggio for the visuals, F1Paintlab for the graphics and posters, Detroit Printer for the printing. We should also than James at Autodesk, Alex at MotoKure, Spencer of Sketch-a-Day, and Marek at Carr Magazine for the contestant prizes. Finally thanks to IDSA and Detroit Creative Corridor for helping promote the event.
And let me not forget my partners in this event – Brook and Judith of Middlecott and Tate of the Kunsthalle.