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Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center

​Dearborn, MI

Studio 431 Custom Elements:

Precast Retaining Walls with Integrated Seating and Lighting

Landscape Forms Elements:

Ashbery lighting, Bola bike racks, Parallel 42 benches, Generation 50 litters and recycling

Design Partners:
Zaremba & Company, Ghafari Associates, Illuminart

The Ford Experience Center was one of the first venues to undergo a substantial renovation and redesign as part of Ford Motor Company’s larger transformation of its expansive corporate campus in Dearborn, Michigan. 


‘A Cohesive Plaza Destination’

Under the guidance of landscape architecture firm Zaremba & Company, the project introduced a fresh design language that created welcoming, multi-functional outdoor spaces surrounded by restored native oak savanna habitat in collaboration with the Ford Master Planning Team and Ghafari Associates. Specific attention was paid to incorporating unique, sculptural design features that wow visitors and create a pleasant atmosphere for people working at the campus. Careful consideration was placed on tying the outdoor spaces both functionally and aesthetically to the building’s interior. Complementing architecture by Ghafari Associates, patio spaces spill naturally out from the building, each with a specific purpose—for example, an event patio tied to interior event space, and a café patio that extends the interior dining space. Reflecting Ford’s expertise in mobility, the landscape design also emphasizes the experience of arriving to the site by various modes of travel—foot, bike, car, bus and more.

"The whole idea behind the hardscape was to make it feel like one cohesive plaza destination. For the bus and car drop-off areas, we opted for flat drive aisles instead of having defined curb edges to create a feeling of seamless flow in and out of the building,” describes Shannon Mohr, Design Principal at Zaremba & Company.


Embracing Complex Concepts

The borderless flow between pedestrian and vehicle areas did, however, come with some design challenges. Studio 431, Landscape Forms’ custom division, was tasked with creating the bespoke precast landscape walls that would provide privacy for the patios, create interesting earth forms, allow for significant contouring in the site’s topography, and clearly distinguish pedestrian and vehicle spaces without disrupting the smooth and continuous design intent.

"I was aware of Studio 431’s capabilities and their project history. When drafting these dynamic concrete forms, we knew that a high amount of control would be required to conform to the complexity of the precast concrete of the building and immediately reached out to the Studio 431 team,” Mohr continues.

"I was so pleased that the Studio 431 team was excited to help us right away. They took our SketchUp models, had their engineers look over them, and gave us some preliminary budget numbers which were very helpful in getting quick approval from Ford and the project team. The timing of how it all worked was, to me, a highlight of the success of the project.”

- Shannon Mohr, ASLA, LEED AP, Design Principal, Zaremba & Company


High Expectations, Superior Results

"When Shannon first presented this project to us, it was clear that one of the main intents for this landscape was to be a showcase,” says Landscape Forms Business Development Representative for Southeastern and Northern Michigan, Kyle Verseman, ASLA. "As a place to host events, welcome important guests, and accommodate the press and media, we knew from the get-go that the outdoor atmosphere had to be unique, experiential, and multi-functional.” Multi-functionality, in fact, was a central tenet of Ford’s new campus masterplan. Partnering with Ed’s Concrete, out of Ontario, Canada, to produce the precast concrete, Studio 431's focus on creating retaining walls that seamlessly transitioned into benches, wayfinding devices with integrated lighting, and purposeful sculptural elements was a key measure in meeting the company’s specific expectations.

Joining Studio 431’s custom elements, Landscape Forms’ Ashbery lighting, Bola bike racks, and Parallel 42 benches along with Kornegay Design’s Quartz Series planters play important supporting roles in complementing landscape architecture, welcoming visitors, and creating an inviting pedestrian atmosphere. 

"Studio 431 is the perfect bridge between design and construction teams. They were eager to come out in the field, help us troubleshoot some of the challenges inevitable in a project this complex, and really connected all the dots to make this project the best it could possibly be."

- Shannon Mohr, Zaremba & Company


Contact Us​

To learn more about Studio 431 or to inquire about custom capabilities on an upcoming project, contact your Landscape Forms Representative or click here​.

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Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center
Ford Experience Center