A blend of artistic inspiration and sustainable design is on display at Playground Detroit this month. Detroit-based designer and artist Mike Han presents his debut solo exhibition during Design Core Detroit’s 13th annual Detroit Month of Design. Han’s inaugural solo exhibit, titled “Mike Han: United by Design,” takes people on a captivating exploration of his creative practice, which is infused with Korean calligraphy techniques, graffiti inspiration, and modern design elements. The exhibit runs through Sept. 30 at Playground Detroit.

Through his exhibit, Han has collaborated with several renowned Detroit brands such as Gardner White, Leon Speakers, SEE Eyewear, Detroitissimi, and Mothfire Beer, who, together, are seeking to create sustainable objects that enhance people’s daily lives and promote a harmonious coexistence with the environment. A special highlight of the exhibition is Han’s “Modern Vandalism” series, where he employs a special ink to paint on blueprints by iconic architects Albert Kahn and Minoru Yamasaki.  

Mike Han painting

Detroit-based designer and artist Mike Han paints historic Albert Kahn and Minoru Yamasaki blueprints with sequestered carbon ink, a sustainable ink made from captured carbon emissions. | Photo by One Detroit

Han’s artistry reflects a deep connection to his Korean roots, as he employs organic yet deliberate mark-making techniques on meticulously chosen materials. This distinctive blend of heritage, sustainability, and contemporary artistry offers visitors a unique opportunity to delve into Han’s meditative practice and explore the rich tapestry of his identity.  

On the heels of his exhibit opening on Sept. 2, Han sat down with One Detroit producer Sarah Smith to explore how design can help us live healthier lives, the intersection of design and sustainability, and what he hopes people will take away from his collaborative exhibit. Plus, Han talks about the significance of giving historic blueprints a new life through graffiti and how he employs sustainable materials throughout his artwork.  

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