D MET adds a new facade and continues renovations at 4130 Cass, home of La Feria

In the emerging Cass Corridor Design District shaping up at the corner of Cass Avenue and Canfield, 2012 Hatch Detroit contest winner La Feria has been hard at work renovating their space and getting ready to open. But just last week some exterior improvements were done that have made the tapas restaurant's progress much more visible.
The building at 4130 Cass is a lot more than just the new home of La Feria. Owned by local artist Adnan Charara, the whole building is undergoing a remodeling. Charara's studio is located in the back of the building, where he also plans on opening a community gallery. The front of the building is sectioned off into two retail spaces about 1,000 square feet each – one is La Feria; the other he is still seeking a tenant to inhabit (this is some prime real estate and once people realize it's available, it won't last long).
D MET Design is the architecture and design studio that has been commissioned to do the buildout of La Feria as well as the façade for the whole building. Elizabeth Skrisson, LEED AP and co-owner of D MET along with her husband Joel Schmidt, Architect Principal, says that the La Feria renovation is moving along and is currently being framed and drywalled.
"La Feria" is actually an outdoor street festival held every spring in Seville, Spain. In its design for the space, D MET wanted to capture some of that exuberance – the lights, the food, the colors, the dancing. The idea behind the design is to make the interior look like an exterior: the walls are exposed brick, the ceiling painted a bright red and shaped to take on the feel of one of the outdoor tents where food is served during the festival. It is a mix of old and new: the original brick, wooden ceiling joists and terrazzo floor will remain while a new bar, kitchen, and tiles hand-made by chef and co-owner Pilar Baron Hildago will be added. Festival lights and naturally-derived colors will also be used, and during the summer the large storefront window will open with a bench seat that will connect the indoors to the outdoor patio.
Concurrently with the La Feria buildout, D MET has also been working on the façade for 4130 Cass. The historic building was built in the 1800s and the exterior was in disrepair when Charara purchased the building. D MET wanted to take an approach that protected the historic structure using modern materials, something that could attach to it without destroying it, so they used cement fiber board panels in "playful geometric" patterns that complement Charara's own artistic style while also reinterpreting the bay windows and cornices of neighboring buildings. Skrisson says they "wanted to get a lot of texture and play" from the panels, and the materials used are also relatively inexpensive, allowing them to stay within the budget of the façade improvement grant Charara received from Midtown Detroit Inc.
"This is another strong piece of the puzzle along Cass," Skrisson says, "not only occupied and lively but also a design-forward piece too. (We wanted it to) be something to push design-forward thinking in the neighborhood."
And so the Cass Corridor Design District has another showpiece.
D MET is the architecture and design firm behind Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown, Rodin in the Park Shelton, and the recent Canine to Five exterior renovation. Their next project is a new façade for the Hub of Detroit.
Source: Elizabeth Skrisson, co-owner of D MET Design
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.