Ford Experience Center
Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​

Ford Experience Center

Landscape Forms as Manufacturers
The Ford Experience Center (FXC) was one of the first venues to undergo a substantial renovation and redesign as part of Ford Motor Company’s transformation of its expansive corporate campus in Dearborn, Michigan. Under the guidance of landscape architecture firm Zaremba & Company, the project introduced a fresh design language that created welcoming, multi-functional outdoor spaces surrounded by restored native oak savanna habitat in collaboration with the Ford Master Planning Team and Ghafari Associates.
photo_credit Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
A central focus for the grounds outside the renovated Experience Center was to create “a cohesive plaza destination,” a goal that presented a unique design challenge given the site’s location. Directly across the street from the modern, future-facing FXC is Greenfield Village, a sprawling open-air museum whose traditional ambiance offers an immersive look into the company’s rich and storied history. To quite literally bridge Ford’s future with its past, the company chose Ashbery area lights to illuminate the roadway in between the two key campus destinations. Designed by experts in the Modern Traditional idiom at Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Ashbery offers an authentic homage to the traditional streetlight with refined designed details and performance at home in the present.
photo_credit Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
“Greenfield Village is like a quaint step back in history, a stark contrast to Ford’s cutting-edge new Experience Center,” describes Kyle Verseman, ASLA, Business Development Representative at Landscape Forms. “Along the street that separates the two destinations, Ashbery area lights create an elegant interface between modern and traditional, smoothly signaling a transition between the distinct spaces.”
photo_credit Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
To soften the transition and make the lights lean a bit more modern, the Ford Master Planning Team chose to omit Ashbery's central aesthetic element that alludes to a gas lamp’s flame. "Removing the flame element lends Ashbery a more modern, refined and streamlined silhouette,” Verseman describes.
photo_credit Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
Pete McDaniel, Proton Studio​
While the Modern Traditional aesthetic was an important consideration, it was the state-of-the-art American craftsmanship and lighting performance that cemented the Ford Master Planning Team’s decision to specify Ashbery. “Ford appreciated a solution from a fellow Michigan manufacturer, and like all of our luminaires, Ashbery is an embodiment of the Landscape Forms lighting performance philosophy. We pride ourselves in creating solutions that put out just the right amount of light—not turn night into day—but present quality illumination exactly where it’s needed,” says Verseman.
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