SIGNAL–RETURN is a letterpress studio and gallery that seeks to connect the community to traditional and emergent forms of printing as well as offer a resource for entrepreneurial artists and designers to produce for retail clients. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market within a former light manufacturing space, the brief was to adapt the space as an educational printing studio with an adjoining retail space. A tight budget demanded that resources be allocated very selectively.
An existing “defensive” façade was replaced with a new glass storefront, bringing in light to reveal the character of many of the existing surfaces. Worn brick walls and a suspended storage loft were left alone. Paint was used sparingly, painting a dark ceiling white to improve visibility in the space and then by emphasizing the spaces industrial character and construction hierarchy by painting the existing steel elements (columns, beams, hangers and rods) an intense yellow color. A series of large, fir plywood pieces were designed to organize the retail space and storage loft. These new elements, in contrast to the older, dark-stained type cabinets are configured in much the same way that wood “furniture” blocks are used to organize the type on the bed of the nearby printing presses.
1. AC Fir Plywood
2. Intumescent Paint
3. Hot Rolled Steel