David Adjaye, London Architect

December 10, 2011 by staff 

David Adjaye, London Architect, To be sure, the brilliant British-Ghanian architect David Adjaye was not an obvious choice as Design Miami’s Designer of the Year. Unlike most of his predecessors, he has designed very few pieces of furniture or objects, except as part of a total architectural environment. And although he has designed for both artists and collectors (among them artists Lorna Simpson and James Casebere, painter Chris Ofili, director Spike Lee and collector Adam Lindeman and his gallerist/wife Amalia Dayan), his work is not in itself the object of collecting desire.

He has designed the acclaimed Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and has one of this country’s most important museum commissions, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Culture and History (NMAACH) which will sit on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. His work shapes galleries, but it’s not — for the most part —on display in them.

“What’s very interesting about David is his way of collaboration,” says Design Miami’s new director Marianne Goebl. “For him, collaboration is a way of expression.”

The Designer of the Year selection is always accompanied by a commission. To this end, Adjaye has designed a pavilion titled Genesis that stands as the entrance to the Design Miami tent just across the parking lots to the west of the Miami Beach Convention Center and the main Art Basel Miami Beach exhibitions. It is a timber-frame prismatic equilateral triangle that deals with such heady concepts as “enclosure, aperture, views, respite, meditation and community” but also offers (more mundanely but no less necessarily) places to sit and escape the sun, rain or crowds.

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