Detroit is a city in rebirth. Following the Second Industrial Revolution, the city flourished as a result of the burgeoning automotive industry. As the epicenter of manufacturing in America, its population more than doubled in size between 1910 and 1920. And with more people came more fortune. During this time, feats of modern architecture like The Metropolitan Building in downtown Detroit were erected to accommodate the influx of business in the area. Known more colloquially as the “Jewelers Building,” this neo-Gothic structure was home to jewelry retailers, wholesale dealers, diamond cutters, and goldsmiths—a microcosm of the opulence that defined the Motor City for decades. But this prosperity was short-lived. The infamous 1967 Detroit Riot damaged both the city’s infrastructure and its reputation, forcing landmarks like The Metropolitan Building to fall into disarray. By the late ‘70s, the building and its surrounding community had been all but abandoned. And with that, the jewel of downtown Detroit was lost to the passage of time.
Nearly half a century later, investors began revitalizing downtown Detroit to bring energy and excitement back to the city center, and commerce back to the former heart of America’s economy. Amidst this urban renaissance, we were approached by The Roxbury Group in 2018 to help reintroduce the splendor of The Metropolitan Building to the world. We were entrusted with crafting a modern yet classic brand identity for the building as well as its then unnamed rooftop bar that honored the rich history of downtown Detroit.
To truly grasp the legacy of The Metropolitan Building, we worked with our clients to get to the core of what made the city so distinct. Our conversations kept coming back to this notion of reinvention. A return to glory, as it were. It’s this spirit of undaunted resilience that defined the name and positioning of the rooftop experience and the overall identity of the building.
When it came to naming the bar, we needed something lavish. A moniker that exuded distinction but aroused a sense of familiarity. Ultimately, we arrived at “The Monarch Club”—a callback to the palatial and ornate nature of the building during its heyday. Alongside this name, we developed the tagline “Rise to the occasion,” which invited guests to celebrate and bask in the greatness around them. These timeless themes informed the overall brand experience for both The Monarch Club and The Metropolitan, rounded off by a custom typeface created in collaboration with Badson Studio. Our vision was rooted in the design legacy of the building and of Detroit. We paid homage to the triumphs of the past while writing a completely new chapter for the building, creating space for reflection as well as belonging.
With the revival of the American car company and a steady flow of tech and retail spaces into the city, the industry of downtown Detroit is being rebuilt from the ground up. Knowing that The Metropolitan is a part of that is the ultimate gratification. We’re proud to have partnered with The Roxbury Group to continue the legacy of an icon more than a century in the making. Since its reopening, the building has welcomed guests from all over the globe to experience the history of downtown Detroit while making new, indelible memories that will live on forever. From the moment they step through the doors of The Metropolitan to the moment they’re greeted by the dramatic views and sounds of the city at The Monarch Club, they’re treated to the hospitality experience of a lifetime.