an obsolete radiator repair shop has become the minimalist 'magnet' restaurant in detroit

an obsolete radiator repair shop has become the minimalist 'magnet' restaurant in detroit

in core city — an area of detroit that has seen little to no commercial development over the past 50 years — a new restaurant hopes to reinvigorate a spacious, quiet, beautiful and classic neighborhood. ‘magnet’ has been transformed from an empty 2,100 square foot radiator shop into a minimalist, but rigorously-considered space. designed by ishtiaq jabir rafiuddin of undecorated as ‘an exercise in simplicity’, the eatery includes 14-foot-high exposed ceilings and a 32-foot-long rectangular sunken bar at the center of the dining room, bringing bartenders and guests to eye level.

magnet restaurant
all images by chris miele



rafiuddin has transformed an obsolete radiator repair shop into an elemental restaurant experience.from the inception, we established several non-negotiables to help guide the design process,’ the architect describes. ‘1. the restaurant would be called magnet 2. magnet had to be bar-centric; the bar had to be integrated in the dining room 3. the food offerings would be inspired by mediterranean cuisine borrowing from the simple tradition of cooking with wood. the kitchen would house a wood burning oven and a wood burning grill 4. magnet should feature an open kitchen from the dining room 5. booth seating 6. feature views of neighboring core city park.’

magnet restaurant



the material selection exercises the theme of simplicity, and is based on the fascination of the wood burning brick oven, the contrast of cool and warm, and of earth and fire. the dining room is clad with a cool-blue ceramic tile — a material itself made from clay and forged in fire. the cool tile is complimented with a warm ring of neon framing the circulation, featured across a clear glass tube that softly diffuses its natural red/orange hue.

magnet restaurant



magnet — a collaboration between chef brad greenhill and partner philip kafka — uses design thinking that reflects the simplistic philosophy of its cooking. the new space will allow greenhill to explore a classic approach to dining: a celebration of ingredients and great people.

magnet restaurant

magnet restaurant

magnet restaurant



project info:


location: detroit, michigan, USA
client: prince concepts, magnet
category: adaptive reuse
program: restaurant with open kitchen, dining room, sunken bar, back of house, restrooms, outdoor dining
area: 2750 sf interior, 5900 sf exterior
status: completed 2019
design architect: undecorated
design team: jungwoo kim, molly mason, ishtiaq jabir rafiuddin, arban tafilaj, leila thackara
landscape architect: D.I.R.T. studio
architect of record: BIGG architecture
construction manager: jim saad / commercial construction management

  • ”detroit that has seen little to no commercial development over the past 50 years” . I dont really agree to this statement. Detroit is a currently a city where there is a new bar or restaurant every week. Every weekend there is a hand full of events for everyone, lots of concerts etc. Detroit is an underdog city in full bloom. This restaurant is one of MANY fantastic restaurants in Detroit to enjoy.

    Fabian says:

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