Architecture studio Akoaki has created an angular aluminium pod called The Mothership, which contains a DJ booth for staging pop-up events and funk concerts in Detroit's North End neighbourhood (+ slideshow).
Designed and built by the Michigan-based studio, the pod is named after the P Funk Mothership, a conceptual space vehicle invented by Dr Funkenstein – an alter ego of musician George Clinton – that also existed as a stage prop for concerts with his band Parliament-Funkadelic.
Clinton moved to Detroit in the 1960s to be a staff writer for the influential Motown record label, and went on to become one of the world's most important funk artists.
Referencing this history, Akoaki co-founder Anya Sirota wanted to create a mobile structure for funk performances that could be used to stage community events.
Supported by a base and frame of steel tubing, the pod encases a metal mesh platform just over a metre above ground level, housing DJ equipment including a table, mixer, laptop and speakers.
It is made from sixteen water-jet-cut aluminium panels, bolted together to create a polygonal shape.
"The Mothership's cosmetic finish borrows techniques from car customisation," said Sirota. "We're blinging the surface with polished gold vinyl and dichroic film. The result is a glistening exterior that purposefully couples popular embellishment with psychedelic interior effects."
Smoke machines and coloured lighting are included to create the impression that the pod has "just landed".
The Mothership was conceived by Sirota as the first installation for the O.N.E. Mile project, which aims to transform Detroit's run-down North End neighbourhood with new civic spaces and cultural projects.
The project is focused on a mile-long stretch of Oakland Avenue, the main road that runs through the district, which became a suburb of Detroit in the 1890s.
Sirota is one of a number of architects, landscape architects, artists and musicians working on the project as volunteers, supported by various arts organisations and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
According to her, the city's reputation for poverty and cheap property has led to a programme of "blight removal", with developers coming in to clean up neighbourhoods and make them more appealing to new home buyers.
"Unchecked, the broad renewal plan threatens to erase important historical vestiges that connect Detroit and its cultural innovations to a greater national legacy," said the architect.
"The Mothership is a physical reminder. It's an icon that says important things happened in Detroit and its outlying neighbourhoods. Rather than plaques, the module serves as a living reminder that Funk music literally started here."
The Mothership's first outing was last October at the launch of the O.N.E. Mile project, when 12 past and present members of Parliament-Funkadelic staged a live concert in a garage on Oakland Avenue.
It has since been used for various events around the city.