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David Adjaye Named Design Miami’s 2011 Designer of the Year


(Photo: Lyndon Douglas)

Design an awesome home for Adam Lindemann and the world will beat a path to your double-height, multipaneled bronze door, as will Design Miami, which will honor Tanzanian-born, London-based architect David Adjaye as Designer of the Year at this year’s fair (November 29-December 4 in Miami Beach). Awarded annually to an internationally renowned designer or studio “whose body of work demonstrates unmatched quality, innovation, and influence, while expanding the boundaries of design,” the honor has been bestowed in previous years on the likes of Zaha Hadid, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Maarten Baas, and Konstantin Grcic.

“Winning Designer of the Year is huge for me,” said 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.” Of Ghanaian descent, Adjaye has spent ten years traveling to 53 cities throughout Africa to document the continent within an urban context. The resulting project, “Urban Africa: David Adjaye’s Photographic Survey,” includes more than 36,000 pictures, 3,000 of which were displayed at London’s Design Museum before traveling to other locations around the world.

Among the perks of winning Designer of the Year is the opportunity to whip up a site-specific installation for this year’s fair, and Adjaye has designed a triangular pavilion called “Genesis” (rendering at right) that will welcome visitors to Design Miami. The immersive environment will be constructed of hundreds of vertical wooden planks, with the interior formed by an oversized ovoid shape cut out from the center. Inside, Adjaye will provide seating (on a platform formed by cut-away timber frames) that affords views of the sky and surrounding environment. The Design Miami galleries will be visible through a curved window. According to Design Miami, “Genesis” represents the first time that Adjaye has combined structure, seating, window, and doors into a single gesture.

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