By  | 
Single family home designed by the firm of Adjaye Associates for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans.

Single family home designed by the firm of Adjaye Associates for Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation in New Orleans.

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.