Chetcuti, Pardo Unveil Aluminum Chair Sculpture; New Blog Will Enhance North American International Auto Show Designer’s Night Event

Chetcuti, Pardo Unveil Aluminum Chair

Sculpture; New Blog Will Enhance North

American International Auto Show

Designer’s Night Event


Detroit, January 10, 2006—More than 1,000 automotive designers from around the world found a little respite from the usual Detroit Auto Show week grind when they attended the 9th annual International Designer’s Night bash in downtown Detroit Monday evening.Now party organizers have created an internet blog site,,

to help attendees keep track of each other and developments in the world of automotive and industrial design.

“There is so much energy, across companies and across cultures, generated every year at Designer’s Night,” said Detroit-based industrial designer Michael Chetcuti, one of the organizers of the party. “This blog is a way to keep those conversations going, and to spark new ones, throughout the year.”

The blog is up and running and contains dozens of photos, as well as video footage, of this year’s event.

Held once again at the sprawling downtown studio/loft of party founder and Ford designer Camilo Pardo, the event featured a live jazz quartet, thumping techno beats, and an elbow-to-elbow cast of youthful, international designers discovering a different side of the Motor City. For many in attendance, Designer’s Night is a chance to get away from the “business” side of the industry during auto show, and relax in a hipper, more creative environment.

“This is a very unique event that has become a “must-do” for designers coming to the Detroit auto show,” said Ralph Gilles, the red-hot Chrysler designer behind the award-winning 300c sedan. “It provides a very earthy, casual, fun atmosphere, and it brings together designers from Europe, Asia, North America, and all over the world.”

“It’s sort of an underground view of Detroit and the industry,” said Kyle Strek, a designer with the athletic and sportswear company New Balance. “I was really impressed to see such a wide collection of design talent from across the planet.”


In what has become a Designer’s Night tradition, Pardo and Chetcuti again collaborated on a work of industrial sculpture that was unveiled Monday night. Their 475-pound chair—dubbed the “Mercury Lounge” and constructed of gently contoured sections of solid polished aluminum—was a spotlight-stealing hit of the evening. Models, party-goers, and more than a few big names in automotive design—including J Mayes, Chris Bangle, Jack Telnack, Freeman Thomas, and Gilles—stopped to have their photos taken in the chair, which sat on a raised podium in the center of the studio.

Chetcuti and Pardo have now built several aluminum sculptures that explore and demonstrate the possibilities of fine design and modern metal fabrication technologies. After Pardo conceptualizes the design, Chetcuti uses math data technology to work through engineering problems, then has the metal fabricated at his company’s Livonia-based plant. The chair is just the first in a planned full line of “functional” sculpture, including a sofa, coffee table, and end tables, that might someday move to limited production.

“For a public space, such as a hotel or hospital lobby, this furniture would be comfortable and certainly very durable—and would make a dramatic design statement,” Chetcuti said. “This is a work of industrial sculpture that serves a very practical purpose.”

“Also, it is design that, in terms of its aesthetic and execution, thoroughly says ‘Detroit.’”

In addition to the aluminum chair, Pardo’s massive studio was awash with works from local artists, most with an automotive theme, as well as two of Pardo’s prized possessions—his Ferrari 512 BB and his all-white Ford GT, a car for which Pardo served as lead designer for Ford. The multi-talented Pardo also exhibited dozens of his own original paintings—mostly huge, colorful canvases of fast cars, beautiful women, or both—and several of the models at Monday’s bash wore sleek racing suits Pardo designed and hand-stitched himself.

Quickly becoming the must-attend, under-the-radar event of the North American International Auto Show, Designer’s Night is a free event open to anyone bearing a design business card.


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