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As far as adaptive re-use projects go, the restaurant Magnet is, at first glance, deceptively simple. From the outside, the one-storey cinder block building — a former radiator and air-conditioner repair shop that stood empty for years — still maintains a modest profile on Detroit’s storied Grand River Avenue, though it has been painted a dramatic midnight black.

At Magnet, two-and a- half-centimetre red fluorescent-tube lighting follows the form of the room, referencing the heritage of neon signage used in post-industrial cities like Detroit.

That the building is nondescript was part of the appeal for Philip Kafka, founder of real estate development company Prince Concepts, who purchased it in 2014 while...

This Defunct Detroit Repair Shop is Now a Neon-Soaked Hot Spot

Courtesy of local studio Undecorated, Magnet is a dramatic adaptive reuse project that’s more than meets the eye.

AZURE is an independent magazine working to bring you the best in design, architecture and interiors. We rely on advertising revenue to support the creative content on our site. Please consider whitelisting our site in your settings, or pausing your adblocker while stopping by.