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Some Of The Most Amazing Startup Spaces In America Are In Detroit

DPop, an office design firm spun out of Quicken Loans, specializes in reclaiming abandoned spaces, combining the remnants of old Detroit opulence with bold startup chic.

Detroit’s woes are well known; so too, are the efforts of some entrepreneurial spirits to revitalize this once-great city. Dan Gilbert, the CEO of Detroit-based Quicken Loans, has poured a billion dollars into Detroit’s downtown, as Chuck Salter reported in Fast Company Magazine last year.

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With Gilbert’s interest in making the old new again, it should come as no surprise that the offices of Quicken Loans–as well as the offices belonging to some of its related, Detroit-based companies–are physical manifestations of that interest.


Melissa Price is an employee of Quicken Loans, having helped to design its office spaces. When other Detroit businesses became impressed with her work, Quicken spun out her services into a separate business, DPop, which focuses on innovative office design.

Andrew Lemanek and Melissa Price

Together with Andrew Lemanek, another DPop designer, Price has made her mark across downtown Detroit, with highly stylized office spaces that are part startup-chic, part classic Motown. But before you look at the following photos, put out of your mind the phrase some design-oriented tourists sometimes apply to some of the visible signs of Detroit decay: “ruin porn.”

“That’s a lazy approach to experiencing our city,” says Price. By breathing new life into defunct spaces, Price’s projects give the lie to the idea that Detroit landmarks should be dismissed as “ruins” at all, no matter what state they may currently be in.

Click through the slide show above to learn what motivates Price and Lemanek as they envision the future of Detroit’s workplaces.

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.

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