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Inspired By Detroit

An Historical Beginning

A Historical Beginning

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.

Where Ideas Thrive

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:

About Innovation

01. Innovation

Committed to driving the future within and outside of the automotive industry, the activities at the center are focused on fostering the spirit of innovation.
About Collaboration

02. Collaboration

Collaboration helps connect us with Detroit’s leading students, businesses, city makers and passionate residents to create a space where ideas can come alive and thrive.
About Design

03. Design

Inspired by the grit of industrial Detroit, design is at the core of our programming. The building’s origin, history, structural qualities and industrial-themed décor all come together to help drive conversations around new ideas.
About Education

04. Education

The center is in close proximity to Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies (CCS) allowing us to harness student talent and help develop future leaders in the innovation sector.
About Community

05. Community

We’re committed to supporting the communities in which we do business and the new Innovation Center will leverage close partnerships with non-profit organizations in the heart of Detroit.
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