Principal Architect of Adjaye Associates, David Adjaye, is this year’s recipient of the Designer of the Year Award Design Miami/. A site-specific installation by Adjaye, commissioned for the fair, will be presented at the 2011 edition of Design Miami/, November 29-December 4.
Each December, the Design Miami/ Designer of the Year Award recognizes an internationally renowned architect, designer, or studio whose body of work demonstrates unmatched quality, innovation and influence, while expanding the boundaries of design. The Designer of the Year must demonstrate a consistent history of outstanding work, along with a significant new project, career milestone, or other noteworthy achievement within the previous twelve months. Past Designer of the Year winners include Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson, Tokujin Yoshioka, the Campana Brothers, Maarten Baas, and Konstantin Grcic.
Renowned for a focus on museum-quality exhibitions of collectible design from the world’s top galleries, Design Miami/ has utilized the fair as a platform for architectural innovation since its inception, with its award-winning temporary structures, innovative exhibition designs and installations. Adjaye’s use of architecture as a catalyst for generating community, his novel application of materials, and his diverse catalogue of projects that intersect architecture, design and art, complement Design Miami’s objective of creating a forum that advances the discourse surrounding experimental design while encouraging visitors to connect and exchange ideas within its venue.
“Winning Designer of the Year is huge for me,” says Adjaye. “To win an award like this from the design community is really significant because so much of my work is about crossing platforms. Being recognized this year--which culminates in all of the work and research I’ve been doing in Africa--is extremely meaningful.”
The Award presented Adjaye with the opportunity to design a site-specific installation for Design Miami/ 2011. His pavilion, entitled Genesis will welcome visitors to the fair’s temporary structure on Miami Beach. Given an open brief for the commission by Design Miami/, Adjaye has created a pavilion that introduces the essence of his architectural ideas to a wider public in a temporary context.
Composed of hundreds of vertical wooden planks morphing into organic interior seating and opening up to the sky and surrounding environment, the triangular pavilion will serve as entryway to the fair, a community gathering area and a space for respite during the lively week. Choreographing these diverse functions in one structure exhibits Adjaye’s ability to organize space in a way that effortlessly guides the user and creates an engaging spatial experience through a transcendent use of materials.
Adjaye was chosen by a diverse selection committee comprising individuals who significantly impact international design discourse: Maarten Baas,Baas & Den Herder Studio; Daniel Charny, Design Curator and Critic; Pierre Doze, Design Critic; Marianne Goebl, Director for Design Miami/; Brooke Hodge, Hammer Museum; Ellen Lupton, Maryland Institute of College of Art & Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Ravi Naidoo, Design Indaba & Interactive Africa; Deyan Sudjic, Design Museum London; Noriko Takiguchi, Design Critic; Alexander von Vegesack, Vitra Design Museum & Boisbuchet.
“One thing that clearly sets David Adjaye apart from many of his contemporaries is the strong social agenda to his work,” says Goebl. “The democratic approach to design is clearly a benchmark of what he does, but as you look more deeply, there are so many layers to David’s work. His projects show a real sensitivity to materiality, not just aesthetically, but in a performative and emotive sense.”
Based in London, with offices in Berlin and New York City, Adjaye is one of the world’s leading architects. His ingenious use of materials and unique ability to showcase light coupled with his democratized approach to the architectural process have helped establish his reputation as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. His many worldwide projects include the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO (winner of the 2011 First Prize Public Buildings IX ARCHIP International Architecture Award); The Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO; the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway; flood-resistant houses in New Orleans for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation; and the Stirling Prize-nominated Idea Stores in London, England. Adjaye’s current projects include the design of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American Culture and History (NMAACH) on the National Mall in Washington, DC, set to open in 2015.
Tanzanian-born and of Ghanaian descent, Adjaye has also spent ten years traveling to 53 cities throughout Africa to document the continent within an urban context and address much of the world’s lack of knowledge of the built environment throughout the disparate countries of Africa. The resulting project, “Urban Africa: David Adjaye’s Photographic Survey,” includes over 36,000 pictures, 3,000 of which were displayed at London’s Design Museum before traveling to other locations around the world.
David Adjaye’s belief in working together with artists and other cultural thinkers has led to a number of notable collaborations on both building projects as well as exhibitions. The practice established its early reputation with a series of private houses where the artist was client, and this dialogue continues with recent public buildings, exhibitions and research projects. Adjaye Associates was responsible for: the exhibition design of the all-video SITE Santa Fe Eighth International Biennial Exhibition “the dissolve” (2010); Olafur Eliasson’s “Your black horizon” light installation at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005); and Chris Ofili’s “The Upper Room” exhibited (1999-2002 and 2010), which is now in the permanent collection of Tate Britain.