Made in Local: Designed in Japan, Built in Detroit

October 30-November 20, Made in Local: Designed in Japan, Built in Detroit, by Ishinomaki Lab + Brightmoor Maker Space

Founded in 2011, Ishinomaki Laboratory started as a simple, public workshop for the local community devastated by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Along with running DIY workshops for residents affected by the disaster, we participated in restoring and renovating local shops – as well as creating spaces where people could reimagine the future of the city together.

One of the highlights from the early days was working together with local high school students to build over 40 benches for an outdoor cinema. In the fall of 2011, Herman Miller joined the assistance program in areas affected by the earthquake and collaborated with Ishinomaki Laboratory to run furniture workshops for locals, with the furniture constructed offered free of charge. These design-centered workshops, where DIY skills and ideas are shared, are still being run to this day.

Combining good design with “handmade” products, the Ishinomaki Laboratory label was launched to market the products beyond the local community. Talented designers, from Japan and abroad, work together with the Ishinomaki Laboratory team to create a lineup of furniture and items that can be enjoyed together.

Collaborating with international makers to share the essence of our craft, born out of our own local experience in Ishinomaki, Japan The Made in Local initiative started as a simple desire to somehow bring Ishinomaki Lab’s designs and story to a local context, and has since grown to similarly a more thorough relationship with people (local makers and market), place (locally-available materials), and product.

Made in Local projects are currently located in London, Manila, Berlin, and Detroit.

In this next chapter of our relationship with Detroit, Ishinomaki Laboratory is excited to announce a Made in Local partnership with the Brightmoor Maker Space. Since 2017, Ishinomaki Laboratory has been engaging with students and faculty from the University of Michigan as a part of the Ishinomaki -Detroit Collaborative, a transnational alliance of community-based ventures and non-profits in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture and Detroit, Michigan. As our Detroit-based counterpart, the Brightmoor Maker Space became a close partner in an annual exchange of technical know-how , experiences, and cultures.

A bit different from our other Made in Local partnerships, our focus will be on supporting the training of a new generation of woodworkers as they learn production and Business skills through the manufacturing and promotion of our designs. Products will initially be made using pine and made available for sale in the Detroit Metropolitan Area.