Made-in-America Design Brand Shinola Launches its First Hotel in Detroit
Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit is one of the city’s most iconic roads—purportedly, in 1909 the first mile of concrete highway in the world was built here—rich with automotive milestones and strewn with cultural institutions. Propelling this thoroughfare into a new era is the Shinola Hotel, a partnership between the namesake retailer and local real estate firm Bedrock, operated by Mac&Lo.
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Shinola, known for its hand-assembled products spanning bicycles and audio equipment, is a proud Detroit company with a factory devoted to timepieces and leather inside the nearby A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. Shinola Hotel, designed by New York–based Gachot Studios with architecture by local firm Kraemer Design Group, broadens this handcrafted narrative.
"Since establishing the brand in 2011, we always had the vision of designing a space that was an extension of Shinola," says creative director Daniel Caudill. "We wanted people to be able to fully immerse themselves in the sight and smell of Shinola and felt the best way to accomplish this was through a hotel."
Celebrating the city’s past, Shinola Hotel unites a duo of reimagined historic structures: the circa-1915 T.B. Rayl Co. hardware and sporting goods store, adorned in terra-cotta; and the limestone-clad Singer Building, constructed in 1936 for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. These two classics meld with a trifecta of new annexes.
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Christine Gachot, partner at Gachot Studios, describes the hotel’s sensibility as home-like, flaunting a simple palette and residential-grade fabrics. "The public spaces have concrete floors with a custom brass inlay, while the walls are done in a softly textured plaster. We tried to be respectful of the original architecture, even recreating the terra-cotta facade detail in a cast-plaster on the events ceiling," she explains.
The animated "living room," the heart of the property for both guests and locals, paves the way to guest rooms. Laid out in over 50 different configurations for a personalized feel, they feature white American oak flooring and wall panelling trimmed in signature Shinola blue. Fittingly, Shinola goods such as Runwell desk clocks, striped alpaca blankets, and leather throw pillows also grace guest rooms.
An ode to Thomas Parker, one of Detroit’s first black landowners, the restaurant-and retail-lined pedestrian corridor Parker’s Alley attracts crowds with thriving Detroit businesses. Clothing store Good Neighbor and juice bar Drought play nice with global brands like Madewell and Le Labo. Chef Andrew Carmellini of New York’s NoHo Hospitality Group has assembled a disparate collection of food and beverage establishments, including the midcentury-inspired, Italian restaurant San Morello.
"We wanted to get people out and walking around downtown Detroit," says Gachot. "Connecting the property to the city in interesting ways will give guests a sense of discovery."