Lear Corporation, a world leader in automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, is proud to establish its Lear Innovation Center in downtown Detroit, at the recently purchased historic 119 State Street building, located in the Capitol Park Historic District.
The six-story State Street building has served multiple purposes over its existence of more than a century; but it started out as the home of the Brown Brothers Tobacco Company, which for a time was the largest cigar factory in the world under one roof. The building was designed by famed Detroit architect Gordon W. Lloyd, who was an early employer of Albert Kahn.
Lear restored the 35,000-square-foot building close to its original Victorian Romanesque exterior design, in line with Detroit Historical Committee approval. The interior was restored in a fashion that retained much of the building’s history, exuding an industrial, raw, authentic Detroit style and aesthetic.
Well-known graffiti artists, including Tead, Kobie Solomon and Fel3000ft, collaborated on a piece titled “Eyes to the Future” located in the building’s stairwell. The building also features contributions from Fudweiser, who painted the second-floor stairwell with a piece called “Controlled Chaos“, and Freddy Diaz, who created a piece called “Behind the Wheel” on the sixth floor.
Special attention was paid to the industrial and Detroit-inspired furnishings, 90 percent of which were built, produced and manufactured in Michigan.
The original main floor pillars were kept intact and retain burn marks from a fire long ago, another nod to the building’s history. The five pillars now serve as Lear’s mission statement for the building: