Chris Ofili Painting Captures Knoll Designer David Adjaye and Washington Skeleton Chair

New Yorker Celebrates Friendship Between Ofili and Adjaye

October 20, 2014

“Lime Bar”, a new painting by artist Chris Ofili, featured in the October 6, 2014 issue of the New Yorker, depicts architect David Adjaye and his wife Ashley Shaw-Scott seated in a pair of Washington Skeleton™ Chairs for Knoll. The nine-foot tall vertical painting is part of a major New York retrospective, which opens at the New Museum on October 29, 2014.

The New Yorker piece also celebrates the professional and personal relationship between Ofili and Adjaye, who both studied at the Royal College and reconnected in 1997. Adjaye had just opened an architectural office in the East End, a long-distressed area that was starting to revive, and Ofili, who had bought a derelict house nearby on Fashion Street, took him to see it.

"Adjaye became Ofili’s architect that day,” writes Calvin Tomkins of the New Yorker.

“It wasn’t like having a client,” Adjaye recalls. “It was this fantastic dialogue, a kind of sharing” that developed into a lasting friendship.

When the Washington Collection for Knoll™, which includes Washington Skeleton, debuted at the New York Knoll Home Design Shop in October of last year, Ofili was in attendance, along with members of the architecture and design community. When Ofili, who resides in Trinidad with his wife and two children, wanted to design two homes for his family, he turned to Adjaye.

The first home, a three-story concrete-and-glass structure, with large rooms and outdoor passageways, rests atop a hillside overlooking Port of Spain. The second, a “beach house” is nestled in a tropical jungle just five-hundred-steps from the beach. “The house is made of concrete and local bluestone, and its clear, powerful forms and open perspectives—even more open than they are in the family house—makes it look like a minimalist sculpture,” Tomkins writes writes.

In 2003, Ofili and Adjaye worked together in Venice, during the installation of a new series of large red-green-and-black paintings Ofili had done for the British pavilion at the 2003 Biennale. “Adjaye’s installation turned the classical proportions of the British pavilion into a fever dream of color and light,” Tomkins writes.

“Chris Ofili: Night and Day,” the first major solo museum exhibition in the United States of the work of artist Chris Ofili, will be on display at The New Museum from October 29 – February 1, 2015. The new museum is located at 235 Bowery New York, NY 10002. Gallery hours are Thursdays, 11am to 9pm and Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 6pm.