French & Michigan started as a small, nameless design studio at a house located in the Southtown neighborhood of San Antonio. The house is situated in what is known to the local art community as the Compound. Sitting around a living room table, Director Billy Lambert led a team of architecture students and graduates on design projects consisting of various renovations and new buildings.
In 2012, the studio moved into a Spanish Mission style building on the corner of French Street and Michigan Avenue in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, which was owned by longtime client Jeffrey Dersh. Dersh had the firm work on small renovations to the structure before deciding to rent the space out to the studio, which subsequently became French & Michigan.
In fall 2013, the studio expanded to open French & Michigan Gallery. Led by Curator Céleste Wackenhut, French & Michigan Gallery began representing artists, bringing in an inventory of artwork, presenting exhibitions, and publishing catalogues.
While the gallery continued in Beacon Hill, the studio moved back to Southtown in late 2014 to a 4,000 sq ft building known as Mario’s Automotive. The structure allowed F&M to expand its operations further and open a workshop making custom fabrications and a furniture collection.
After operating between two locations, French & Michigan moved all disciplines to one location at Mario’s in 2016. Today, French & Michigan functions as a hybrid with two branches: F&M Projects, a nonprofit arts organization, and F&M Workshop, a design and fabrication practice. The building continues to undergo renovations to house both branches. The original location at the Compound is now an architecture residency for graduate students.