Renovations are coming close to an end at the 117-year-old Grand Army of the Republic Building downtown, where chef Kate Williams's Republic and Parks and Rec dining concepts will occupy the first floor. To mark this milestone three years in the making, LA artist Greg Siff was invited to the Motor City to adorn a wall of the Republic with one of his signature emotive murals.
Siff, whose art has been commissioned the world over by the likes of The Standard Hotel, Vans sneakers, and Mercedes Benz, was asked by Peter Gurski, of the LA-based Gurski Design Inc., the firm hired to handle the interior design of the five-story castle's two restaurants.
Detroit is a "gray and cold and hard city, but with the slightest bit of rainbow."
During the gathering, Siff atop scaffolding, produced dozens of simplistic images of iconic Detroit landmarks, highlighted with a rainbow of bleeding, neon color (vaguely reminiscent of Detroit artist Katie Craig's Illuminated Mural on East Grand Boulevard). In Siff's words, the mural represents the city itself, which the artist described as a "gray and cold and hard city, but with the slightest bit of a rainbow."
The event comes just weeks before the GAR's owners plan to unveil the castle's massive renovations. For one day only on November 8, the public will have a chance to take a peek at the entire castle's transformation. After that, the occupants will start moving in, restricting access the building as a whole.
Williams said she's hoping to open Parks and Rec, which she described as a "chef's day off" style diner, by the end of November. The Republic, a tavern concept inspired by Old World traditions of communal, locally sourced dining (for Detroit's "kings and queens," as Williams puts it), is expected to open by the end December, possibly, she says, in time to host a New Year's Eve celebration.