Ann Arbor design studio to take workshops, outreach on the road in repurposed food truck

Synecdoche Design Studio launches Kickstarter campaign for TruckTruck project

Synecdoche Design Studio will transform Ricewood's former food truck into a mobile workshop. (Synecdoche Design Studio)

ANN ARBOR – What do you do when an old food truck lands in your hands?

This was the question posed to Synecdoche Design Studio’s Lisa Sauve when her firm recently acquired Ricewood’s old truck.

Sauve said she asked the popular barbecue spot’s owner Frank Fejeran about the truck after he was well-established in his brick and mortar space at York.

“I said, ‘Frank, can I have your truck?’” recalled Sauve. “And he said, ‘I would trust no one else to do something great (with it).’ He brought the truck over to our studio. I think he understood the value it had for Ricewood. It was an easy way for him to pay it forward without too much hassle.”

And paying it forward is something Sauve says Synecdoche plans to continue with their new mobile studio, which they’ve named TruckTruck.

Screenshot from Synecdoche's TruckTruck campaign video. (Synecdoche Design Studio)

The firm is currently fundraising on Kickstarter to fix up the truck. The campaign has raised $2,433 of its $12,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon and ends on Oct. 28.

Synecdoche plans to spend the winter fixing up the truck, making it safe and building out the interior to have furniture, storage, outlets and more. Sauve said work should be done by spring 2022 with the goal of officially launching TruckTruck in May.

Synecdoche will use the finished truck to host maker workshops around town, and also plan to rent it out to businesses or organizations wanting to host pop-ups.

“What if somebody wants to open a record store?” said Sauve. “First thing they do is do TruckTruck, build their audience and host DJ band sessions in library parking lot or something. It’s about testing out different ways for people to test different markets, find their community and kickstart their new ideas.”

Currently, Synecdoche plans to rent out TruckTruck for $5,000 for three months. Pricing can be flexible depending on the client and time the truck would be needed, said Sauve.

“If it’s a nonprofit trying to run a workshop, we’re going to do a sliding scale going in the other direction,” she said.

Sauve said they plan to eventually donate TruckTruck to Synecdoche’s nonprofit arm, which is currently in development. The goal is to make it a “community bridge” to help up-and-coming businesses figure out their work before they explore brick and mortar options.

The design firm has partnered with local marketing firm DO:BETTER and Design Core Detroit on the project, which she hopes will inspire curiosity in those who come across it.

“Wherever you see TruckTruck, you know something exciting should be happening there,” said Sauve. “I hope those sorts of moments can inspire our community even more.”

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.