Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye opened this weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition, which runs until January 3, 2016, presents a mid-career survey of the critically acclaimed architect David Adjaye and incorporates a comprehensive multiform experience, including a pavilion designed by the architect, large-scale models, full-scale building mock-ups and an array of media.
The survey explores major themes and concerns of Adjaye's work, including its international focus and deeply considered responses to local context through the architect’s cultural, formal, spatial and material investigations. Making Place occupies two floors, offering an astonishing volume of furniture, housing, public buildings and master plans and reflecting Adjaye’s breadth and depth of fascinations.
The breadth and depth of Adjaye's work is reflected in the exhibition's mix of furniture, architecture and urban planning.
“This isn’t about sealing David’s career with a retrospective exhibition, but rather highlighting a critical moment to consider the possibilities of where David’s practice is headed,” said Zoë Ryan, the exhibition’s co-curator and Art Institute John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design. “My hope is that the exhibition will promote a much richer understanding of an architect committed to creating projects of social and cultural significance and meaning.”
Visitors to Making Place encounter an array of media and a full-scale pavilion designed by David Adjaye for the exhibition.
On Saturday, the exhibition was marked by a panel discussion between Adjaye and members of the art world with whom Adjaye has collaborated, including Studio Museum in Harlem director Thelma Golden and the artists Lorna Simpson, Theaster Gates and Chris Ofili. The discussion, The Art of Architecture—David Adjaye’s Collaborations with Artists, was moderated by Zoe Ryan, John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design, and Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Left: David Adjaye in conversation with artists with whom he has collaborated. Right: Washington Skeleton Chairs on view.
Adjaye’s work has been exhibited at the Design Museum in London, at Gallery MA in Tokyo, and most recently in Adjaye Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection, currently on view at the Cooper Hewitt in New York City. The Cooper Hewitt exhibition is coincident with The Adjaye Collection for KnollTextiles, which launched this month, and it reflects the architect’s characteristic research that is in many ways the hallmark of his practice.
“Textiles are powerful sources of exploration and citation,” writes Adjaye in an essay in David Adjaye Selects, the Cooper Hewitt brochure. “Inherent in their production and design is a narrative about culture that I consider absolutely critical to the practice of architecture.”
Adjaye’s collaboration with Knoll began with the Washington Collection launch in 2013. Adjaye designed playful and innovative chairs—Washington Skeleton™ and Washington Skin™—as well as the Washington Corona™ Coffee Table. Prism™, a collection of geologically-inspired club furniture, was introduced at NeoCon 2015.
©Ed Reeve, courtesy of Adjaye Associates