With a mother who painted and a father who played music, arts and crafts were a daily fixture in the home where the six Nordin siblings grew up.
“We were exposed to a host of creative outlets and were always looking for ways to explore new things,” said Erik Nordin.
Their artistic upbringing turned into a lifelong passion for Erik and Israel Nordin. After graduating from college, the brothers teamed up to start the Detroit Design Center. They are glass blowers, sculptors, furniture makers and craftsmen. In whatever medium they work, their aim is to create unique objects.
With their city government floundering through bankruptcy, the Nordin brothers want their work to bring beauty and positive recognition to the city that has taught them so much.
“Living in Detroit has taught us perseverance and has helped us survive as artists over the last decade,” Erik Nordin said. “When things get tough, if you can survive in Detroit, you can survive anywhere.”
“We wanted to create things that were never created before. The architecture, industrial history and the people [of Detroit] all bring inspirations to us.”Erik Nordin
“Vinology Restaurant and Wine Bar asked that we create a visual that would attract their clients to the basement level of their restaurant. We created a ‘a river of bubbles,’ or as the owner calls it, ‘The Bubble Room,’ with over 800 hand blown bubbles hanging from the ceiling. A wall sculpture of wood and metal vines tells a story of the creation of wine and champagne. Grown from the earth, the grapes are converted and the river of bubbles symbolize the effervescence of the champagne. For the opening event, a bubble machine added extra character, creating an atmosphere similar to that in the original Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” – Erik Nordin
“Three Brains” is the centerpiece of Quicken Loan’s new headquarters in Detroit. The company commissioned the Nordin brothers to create an underwater coral reef 10 feet long and 24 inches deep.
Nature inspires the Nordin brothers. Erik recently snared a pile of bark that was “unbelievably cool and pretty.”
Featured at TEDx and recently in the United Kingdom, this sculpture is one of the first of its kind and took the Nordin’s and their team of glass blowers over six months to create. A lighting system creates full day cycles including actinic, sunbeam and moonbeam features.
“The client commissioned us to create a piece to honor his father. Each element of the sculpture was carefully chosen. The sculpture sits in a 400-pound piece of black granite to symbolize his love for mountain climbing. The blue glass sphere represents water and the father’s love of nature and the outdoors. This sculpture was created to exist outside and to change with the elements. The stone floats above the ground as a symbol of his father’s faith. The smaller spheres are symbolic of his wife and children.” – Erik Nordin
“The client dreamed of creating a dining table that looked as if it had grown in the woods. The lower area of the table is created from hand bent steel. They also requested the table be large enough to host a large holiday gathering, but then come apart for everyday use. The two ends are removable and are used as wall tables throughout the year to display their glass collection. The client hoped to have a rich orange tone that we created by adding dye to the wood.” – Erik Nordin
“We were commissioned to design and create a Menorah of epic proportions for the Hanukkah celebration in Campus Martius Detroit. The lighting celebration hosted thousands of people.” – Erik Nordin
“We designed this sculpture for the Liebler Family and it was commissioned through the Detroit Design Center for the front entrance of The Whitney Restaurant. It is called “One Path”. The stainless steel arc represents the one path (Woodward Avenue in Detroit) where the historic property and restaurant is located. The blue glass sphere in the center of the sculpture represents “a gem,” which is symbolically The Whitney. The gem is surrounded by a steel grid pattern that is inspired by the midtown Detroit neighborhood around the restaurant. The smaller rectangles can be seen as buildings in the neighborhood. The grid changes colors throughout the year in warm earth tones, just as the neighborhood is changing every day.” – Erik Nordin