Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope founded Design 99 in 2007 to investigate new models of contemporary art and architectural practice. Initially occupying a retail storefront space, the design studio situated itself in the public realm offering over-the-counter design consultations and marketed $99 house call specials. Now embedded in their residential corner of Detroit, Design 99 seeks out opportunities to experiment with art and design within their community.
Since 2008, the team has been developing the Power House as a test site for ideas and methods, lo and hi-tech building systems, and a point of conversation for the entire neighborhood.
In 2009, Reichert & Cope founded Power House Productions, a nonprofit organization focussed on neighborhood stabilization through art and culture.
Design 99 has exhibited widely including the Van Abbemuseum, Smart Museum, Kunsthalle Wien, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. They have lectured at the Dutch Art Institute, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Umeå University, Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Pulitzer Foundation. Their work has been featured in the New York Times, Detroit News and Free Press, CNN, 20/20, NPR, Der Spiegel, I.D. and Dwell magazines among others.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio 1974. Gina holds Master of Architecture degrees from both Cranbrook
Academy of Art and Tulane University and has worked for housing organizations and architecture firms in Cincinnati, New Orleans, New York and Detroit.
Born Detroit, Michigan 1973. Mitch works as an artist and independent curator. He earned his BFA in Painting from the College for Creative Studies and an MFA in Painting from Washington State University. He was the co-curator for the Detroit section of the Shrinking Cities Project, Berlin and formerly the acting curator for the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.
"I want to suggest, without growing too rhetorical, that [Design 99 is] working on a new kind of artistic agency, in which relational art and site-specific production (even US land art traditions) are combined... more modest, less openly artistic, crossing disciplines and often just about being in the world in this place and time."
-- Charles Esche, Director of Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
"Design 99’s work explores the edges of art practice, utilizing, design, architecture, found materials and utilitarian objects to propose creative solutions to complex problems. Their practice has at its core the belief that transformation can happen in a natural way, if we only take a look, think out-of-the-box and take action."
-- Luis Croquer, MOCADetroit Director and Chief Curator.