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Work of Troy-based engineering company featured in Canadian museum exhibit on biomimicry

A Canadian museum is showcasing innovative applications of biomimicry in vehicle design, and a Troy-based company is one of the key players involved.

The engineering firm Altair, headquartered in Troy, has several products featured in the temporary exhibition Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNOLOGY: Biomimicry and Transportation at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier in Valcourt, Quebec.

A vehicle frame structure showcased in the exhibit was designed using three of the company’s products, OptiStruct, RADIOSS, and Inspire. The frame structure utilizes biomimicry in its design, a practice that emulates patterns and structures found throughout the natural world.

According to the company, Altair’s optimization technology allowed designers and engineers to use the loads and forces the product is subjected to as inputs, generating innovative material layouts. Designers and engineers used the technology to investigate structurally-efficient concepts based on biomimicry principles, using natural designs to solve human riddles.

"It is a pleasure and an honor for Altair to have been invited to collaborate with the Museum of ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier to develop the cross-Canada exhibition on innovation from nature and biomimicry," said Bob Little, managing director of Altair Engineering Canada. "Altair’s solutions for simulation-driven design and optimization are having a real impact on the ability of our customers to develop innovative new designs with greater confidence and in less time."

The exhibition will stay at the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier for a year before it travels cross-country.

"This exhibition showcases the work done by the Museum team and several partners whose collaboration has been most valuable," said Carol Pauzé, director of the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier.

"Did you know that nature rewards cooperation? As was the case with Inspiring NATURE, inspired TECHNO, it leads to amazing results."

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

High score: Lawrence Tech ranks in the top 50 for game design programs for third straight year

Video game fans take note: Lawrence Technological University's game design program has now ranked in the Top 50 of undergraduate schools for game design for the third straight year. The Princeton Review, in a reporting partnership with the PC Gamer magazine, publishes the rankings.

LTU comes in at number 34 among schools to study game design in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

According to officials from the Southfield-based private university, LTU's program is different than most because of its focus on both art and design. Lawrence Tech offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a Game Software Development concentration.

"It is an honor being ranked among the best undergraduate programs in the world," Marshall "Mars" Ashton, assistant professor in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design and director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art program at the university, said in a statement. "Despite how young both the Game Art and Game Software Development programs are, we have seen an incredible amount of progress as we contribute to the field at large and the development of the Michigan game development community."

The Princeton Review created a 40-question survey to determine the rankings of 150 programs based on academic offerings, lab facilities, and more. Also taken into account are alumni achievements, like graduates' starting salaries and career achievements. They then generated and analyzed over 40 data points in academics, faculty, technology, and careers to create the rankings.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Innovative Learning Group recognized as a MichBusiness "Designing Star"

Innovative Learning Group, Inc. (ILG) has received a Best of MichBusiness award in the category of Designing Stars for its corporate headquarters. The award recognizes those companies that create a great working space.

“In designing our space, my goal was to provide an environment where we can collaborate; do focused individual work; be comfortable; host our vendors, clients, and colleagues in the learning community; and be inspired to create engaging learning solutions for our clients,” says ILG CEO Lisa Toenniges.

ILG worked with design firm Young & Young Architects in Bloomfield Hills, builder Kelly Building & Development Company LLC in Birmingham, workplace interior design and furnishing company iscg in Royal Oak, and interior designer Melody Smith in Birmingham.

ILG’s corporate headquarters opened in February 2016. It is 10,100 square feet and was completely renovated from a light industrial building.

The Best of MichBusiness Awards honor the companies and individuals that make Michigan a great place to explore, connect, and thrive. Awards were distributed at the 2017 Best of MichBusiness Awards and Gala held on Nov. 30 at the MGM Grand in Detroit.

About Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

A performance-first learning company, Innovative Learning Group, Inc. creates custom training and tools that help employees of Fortune 1000 companies do their jobs more effectively. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ILG is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2004 by CEO Lisa Toenniges. Visit www.innovativeLG.com to learn more.

Construction tech students renovate church


The David W. Elliott Memorial Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Clarkston Schools Construction Tech program for renovation of the historic Sashabaw Presbyterian Church on Maybee Road.

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Innovation Encounter engineering competition at LTU headed into ninth year

A design competition for engineering students invented at Lawrence Technological University is entering its ninth year with enthusiastic support from industry.

Initial financial support for Innovation Encounter came from the Kern Family Foundation. The Wisconsin-based foundation, founded by the family behind Generac generators, seeks to boost the level of entrepreneurship education in the nation’s engineering schools. Innovation Encounter is now self-sustaining through its sponsors. The competition itself was created by Donald Reimer, college professor of engineering at LTU, based on an innovation event that LTU attended at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2007.

Since the first Innovation Encounter in 2010, more than a dozen universities from coast to coast have participated. Most have been members of a group of schools called KEEN, the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network, universities that have had grant support from the Kern Foundation. Industry sponsors over the years have included ElringKlinger Automotive Manufacturing Inc., Faurecia, Ford Motor Co., Masco Corp., Microsoft Corp., Sundberg-Ferar Inc., and Visteon Corp.

Lawrence Tech won the event in 2015, placed second in 2014 and third in 2016.

“Innovation Encounter continues to engage students and industry in solving real-world engineering problems,” Reimer said. “Lawrence Tech is proud to host this event as an example of the university’s longtime motto, ‘Theory and Practice.’”

In this year’s competition, held Oct. 20-21 on the LTU campus, Marquette University placed first, Ohio Northern University second and Worcester Polytechnic Institute third.

In Innovation Encounter, student teams are given a real-world engineering challenge developed by the event’s sponsor. This year, the sponsor was Dürr Systems Inc., the Southfield-based subsidiary of the German mechanical and plant engineering firm Dürr AG. Three Dürr engineers served as the event’s judges.

The problem statement presented by Dürr focused on infrastructure upgrades of an existing automated industrial paint shop. The teams were challenged with doubling the production output, while not increasing the length or footprint of a coating systems production line.

Although Innovation Encounter is an engineering challenge, by the very nature of the competition, students with non-engineering majors also add needed diversity to the teams. “It was interesting to watch the students’ thought process as they tackled the challenge problem,” said Tim Devries, Dürr project manager. Designs and calculations were not enough to bring home the win. The teams also needed to show confidence as they presented their challenge solutions and answered the questions asked by the Dürr judges.

“Innovation Encounter is an excellent opportunity for students to obtain practical experience with a real world engineering issue,” said Gina Zasadny, entrepreneurial coordinator at LTU. “This provides a terrific platform to stretch technical, creative, and business skills that will transfer to the workplace. Ultimately, this type of experience makes the student stand out among their collegiate peers.”

County graphic artist honored by national design publication

Oakland County’s lead graphic artist was recently honored with four 2016 American Inhouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA, a New York City-based national design publication.

Pam Tremble, a graphic artist for the office of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, won design awards for economic development’s 2014 annual report; management & budget’s 2014 financial summary report; a marketing brochure for an event at Oakland County International Airport; and a full-page advertisement for Oakland County PROSPER®, the county’s electronic newsletter, which ran in the 2015 Somerset Collection holiday catalog.

“This is a special honor and well-deserved recognition for Pam,” Patterson said. “Her innovative ideas and designs continue to put Oakland County on the map in the state and across the nation.”

Tremble’s entries were among nearly 6,000 received by Graphic Design USA. The top 15 percent were recognized with a certificate of excellence. Past winners have included entries from AARP, Sallie Mae, MetLife, Pepsi, Office Depot, Fannie Mae, Kaiser Permanente, Raytheon and Hitachi.

Tremble, 46, has been a county employee since 2002 when she began as a secretary. She has been a graphic artist since 2011 after her graduation from Baker College. A Saginaw resident, she was also honored by Graphic Design USA in 2013 for designs for a celebration for the county’s Emerging Sectors® business attraction program, which had generated $2 billion of total investment.

“It’s nice to be recognized by your peers,” Tremble said. “I’m grateful I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to work with so many talented people on such interesting projects that benefit the residents and businesses of Oakland County.”

Furniture executive touts 'bed of the future'


How's this for a chief executive qualification? Putting people to sleep.

Martin Rawls-Meehan has spent the last decade convincing people he can do just that — perhaps even better than his competitors.

Read more.

Rochester's Trent Design rebrands to Trent Creative, grows

Trent Design is in the final stages of rebranding itself as Trent Creative, a move the boutique branding firm will execute later this month.

"We do more than design," says Marilyn Trent, principal of Trent Creative. "Our current clients know that but when we talk to new prospects it can be limiting."

The Rochester-based company, it also has an office in Midtown Detroit, has hired two people in design and client services over the last year. It currently employs six people and the occasional intern. It is also looking to hire two more people in software development and marketing.

Trent launched what will soon become Trent Creative 23 years ago. It has focused on design work for most of its life but recently moved into offering more comprehensive branding services.

The firm's work for Art X Detroit was also recently chosen as one of the 350 best designs in the U.S. in the 2014 Regional Design Annual representing the best in the Midwest. While awards like that may not directly translate into more business it is another feather the company can put in its cap when pitching new clients.

"It gives us credibility and respect," Trent says.

Trent Creative also plans to become more engaged in work in the greater downtown Detroit area. It is currently working with Midtown Detroit Inc and M-1 Rail to help encourage people to continue to do business in the neighborhood while construction of the trolley line is going over the next 18 months.

"We want to continue to help people keep shopping and doing business on Woodward as we keep building this wonderful rail," Trent says.

Source: Marilyn Trent, principal of Trent Creative
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Simons Michelson Zieve moves into dynamic new space

Simons Michelson Zieve's new home is light years away from its old space in regards to openness and feel. Its old and new homes are also just a few blocks away from each other in Troy.

The 85-year-old advertising agency just moved into its new office at 1200 Kirts Boulevard, which measures out to 12,000 square feet. The space is actually a little smaller than its previous office but it doesn’t feel that way, with wraparound windows bringing in more natural light and multiple floor-to-ceiling, glass-walled meeting spaces.

"It just feels bigger," says Jamie Michelson, president of Simons Michelson Zieve.

The new office is much more open, conforming to the modern creative class demands of connecting people by breaking them out of the physical office silos. Michelson's team worked in several individual offices at the old office but wanted a more collegial atmosphere in its new one.

"People would say you have all of these wonderful people here but I can't see them," Michelson says.

Simons Michelson Zieve has a staff of 47 employees and a couple of interns. It has hired three people over the last year and is looking to hire another three right now. The open jobs include junior-level account coordinators. More info on the openings here

Source: Jamie Michelson, president of Simons Michelson Zieve
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Harley Ellis Devereaux adds 40 people to workforce

Slow and steady isn't just wining the race for Harley Ellis Devereaux, it's leading to some prolonged growth for the architecture and engineering firm.

The company has hired 40 people over the last year, bringing its overall staff to 226 employees and a couple of summer interns. The business has offices in California and Chicago but the lion's share of its employees are in its Southfield headquarters, a number that has been expanding thanks to new work in areas like corporate business and K-12 education.

"It's ramping up," says Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux. "It's been slow growth but it has been steady growth." He adds that he expects that streak to continue over the next year in all of the firm's offices. "People are feeling a bit more confident in what is happening," Cooper says.

Harley Ellis Devereaux has been winning some awards from the Construction Association of Michigan over the last year. It recently shared "Green Project of the Year" with Turner Construction for its sustainable design and buildout of  the Community Health and Social Services Center, a LEED Silver certified building, in southwest Detroit. Harley Ellis Devereaux and DeMaria Building Co were also recognized for  one of the "Most Outstanding Projects of 2012" for its work on Wayne State University’s Chemistry Building renovations and expansion.

"It's always nice when the industry and your peers recognize your work," Cooper says, adding that the awards have helped with the firm's public relations and recruiting efforts.

Source: Michael Cooper, managing principal of Harley Ellis Devereaux
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

Spouses keep design firm going and growing

Husband and wife team Howard and Michelle Davis have kept their Farmington Hills-based interior design firm Davis & Davis strong and growing even during recent difficult economic times.

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Cranbrook Academy of Art wins 2012 ICFF editors award for Best Design School

Over the weekend of May 19-20, a group of top editors from distinguished global design magazines voted for their favorite exhibitors and products at this year’s annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. They put their seal of approval on Cranbrook Academy of Art at the ICFF Exhibitors Reception last night, which was named as Best Design School.
This is the fourth year that the Academy’s 3D Design Department has been invited by the organizers of ICFF to participate in an exhibition featuring the world’s leading design schools. The Cranbrook entry — “Rest and Concentration in the Workplace”* — evolved out of a sponsored-student project created by Herman Miller to nurture a new generation of design talent through the exploration of emerging challenges in the workplace. 
“Rest and Concentration” addresses challenges in the modern office where space is required for teamwork as well as rest, concentration and sometimes, ‘personal escape.’ The project brief from Herman Miller asked Cranbrook’s students to confront several questions, such as: When individual workers need a moment away from the group, what type of furniture would be best to support their rest and concentration?; If the new work culture requires an integration of living and working, then what is the new vision of physical rest in a professional setting?  Students researched these questions by interviewing office workers and visiting office environments, including Herman Miller’s ‘Design Yard,’ to better understand the dynamics at play in the contemporary workplace.

After an initial presentation of concepts and rough-scale models, six proposals were selected by members of Herman Miller’s product development leadership to be produced into full-scale prototypes. With the support of the company’s engineering team and local upholstery and fabrication vendors, the students were able to realize their concepts at a high level of detail and finish. The final six prototypes, now on view at the Javits center, are: Private Rocker, Stump Ottoman, Alcove Chair, Tri-fold Bench, Office Lounge, and Integrated Workstation.*
“This project pushed our students to develop a strong point-of-view and to deliver that message with specific form,” said Scott Klinker, Head of the 3D Design Department and Designer-in-Residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art. “The final prototypes have a youthful ‘business casual’ character and present a strong vision for the future office.”
“Rest and Concentration,” also served the important function of connecting the internationally renowned Holland, Michigan-based Herman Miller with a new generation of Cranbrook designers. In total, sixteen graduate students in the 3D Design Department participated in the 2-semester collaboration, which involved extensive reviews of work by the company’s product development teams at their corporate headquarters.
“The process helped the students understand the complex set of voices beyond the designer's own which are necessary to achieve commercial success,” said Gary Smith, Director of Design Facilitation & Exploration at Herman Miller. “It was also a great opportunity to encourage new Cranbrook talent, to provide perspective gleaned from an 80-year unbroken history of design collaboration, and to share with another generation the meaningfulness of human-centered problem solving."
ICFF Editors Awards Committee included: Arlene Hirst; Elizabeth Pagliacolo, Azure; Amanda Dameron, Dwell; Cristina Bonini, Interni; Chantal Hamaide, Intramuros; Paul Makovsky,Metropolis; Pei-Ru Keh, Wallpaper.
*Hi-Res images of the work presented at ICFF and information on the Herman Miller sponsored project at Cranbrook Academy of Art can also be found at:http://www.cranbrookforhermanmiller.com
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Cranbrook Academy of Art is the country’s top ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design and fine art. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on our landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which features private studios, state-of-the art workshops, a renowned Art Museum, and 300 acres of forests, lakes, and streams, all a short drive from the red-hot art, design, and music scene of Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of ten disciplines: Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside our students. For more information, visit us at www.cranbrookart.edu.

Lawrence Tech architecture students honored in prestigious international competition

Lawrence Technological University architecture students Ying Xiao and Shengchen Yang have received an honorable mention in eVolo magazine’s 2012 Skyscraper Competition for their entry, “Occupy Skyscraper.”

Xiao and Yang’s entry was the second highlighted honorable mention. Since the honorable mentions appear to be ranked as well, they placed fifth out of 714 entries, according to Associate Professor Philip Plowright.

The top two winners were from China, and third place went to a team from Taiwan.

The project was completed in Plowright’s senior studio that has generated 10 competition placements in the past four years.
“eVolo is probably the biggest, highest-profile and most graphic-intensive, ideas-based architectural competition in the world right now,” Plowright said.

Established in 2006, the annual Skyscraper Competition recognizes outstanding ideas that redefine skyscraper design through the use of new technologies, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, along with studies on globalization, flexibility, adaptability, and the digital revolution. This is also an investigation on the public and private space and the role of the individual and the collective in the creation of a dynamic and adaptive vertical community. The award seeks to discover young talent, whose ideas will change the understanding of architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments.

Xiao and Yang described their project, Occupy Skyscraper, as follows:

“Moved by the economic disparity in the United States brought to light by the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement, the designers of the Occupy Skyscraper propose creating a building that can further empower protesters and accelerate the Occupy movement. The temporary Occupy Skyscraper can be erected on any protest site to provide shelter and meeting spaces for dissenters. By providing a means for protesters to take their movement from a horizontal plane to a 3-D vertical reality, the Occupy Skyscraper strengthens and bolsters the event as a whole, but amazingly, it does so only using hemp rope and canvas.

“The skyscraper’s construction begins as soon as a protest takes place: Ropes are woven into a vertical web by attaching to and climbing nearby buildings. The webs are woven thicker and thicker until they form nets that can support weight. At this stage, the 'building' can be used for climbing, hanging flags and supporting sleeping bags in the vertical spaces, and can be used for gatherings on the horizontal plane. Canvas is then attached to create solid paneling to segregate space uses within the building. The designers envision several designated areas: orientation spaces, and other spots for recreation, sleeping, workshops, conferences, rallies and large meetings.

“As the movement gains in strength and more people join, the masses will continue to build out the skyscraper, adding space as needed. The height of the skyscraper reaches its peak, however, when the heights of the surrounding buildings that are supporting the ropes are met. As the protest dies down, this structure can be removed completely, restoring the urban fabric to what it was before the event.”

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student groups and NAIA varsity sports.

Art Institute opens Troy campus

A remodeled 18,900 sq. ft space on Maple in Troy will soon be a hub for aspiring fashion designers, photographers, animators and more.

The Art Institute opened its second Michigan campus in Troy after the success of its initial 2007 expansion in Novi. The Art Institutes are part of the Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago and the Art Institutes’ system of 45 institutions across the North America.

Campus directors said they chose Troy for the city's reputation as a business center and its geographic convenience. The Art Institute of Michigan-Troy, which is currently enrolling students for the fall semester, will offer bachelor's degrees in commercial creative fields like fashion marketing, web animation, and interior design; as well as several associate's degree and diploma programs in related fields.


"We are excited to expand our fashion, design and media arts programs in the greater Detroit community," John Mazzoni, president of the Art Institutes, said in a prepared statement. "After looking at the amount of creative talent and the professional opportunities in this area, we knew there was no question about where to open an additional location in the state, to provide the same caliber of education as our Novi … school."

Click here for more information.

LTU students develop products for venture capital firm

Lawrence Technological University and Sargon Partners of Walled Lake have partnered to commercialize new products developed by LTU students.
Under the agreement, when Sargon recognizes a student project with commercialization potential, Lawrence Tech will provide commercialization rights for a period of time, as well as supporting information for the product's intellectual property. Lawrence Tech will receive a percentage of royalties in each venture, but the exact terms will be specified in a contract for each product.

"We have developed real opportunities for the students to combine their education with an entrepreneurial environment to show that the students can create real products and companies," says Jeff Golota, managing director of Sargon Partners.

So far, Sargon has identified three products co-developed by Lawrence Tech students: Super Squat, Electronic Leak Sensor and Sonar Parking Assist. The company is currently seeking additional students to assume management and continued improvement of the products.

Find out more here.
36 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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