Design Museum


Sir David Adjaye

I went to visit the Design museum to see David Adjaye’s exhibition that explored his work and his thought process on his designs. 

About David Adjaye:

Sir David Adjaye OBE is recognized as a leading architect of his generation. Adjaye was born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents and his influences range from contemporary art, music and science to African art forms and the civic life of cities. In 1994, he set up his first office, where his ingenious use of materials and his sculptural ability established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. He reformed his studio as Adjaye Associates in 2000. The firm now has offices in London, New York and Accra with projects in the US, UK, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. His largest project to date, the $540 million Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times.

Below is some projects what I found particularly interesting.

Gwangju River Reading Room

The pavilion is positioned on the embankment of the Gwangju river, connecting the street level above with the grassy flood planes used as a seasonal park. David Adjaye was connected to the project by the opportunity to collaborate with a like-minded novelist called Salasi who had a similar upbringing to his own. The pavilion houses a human rights library of books from traditional Korean pavilions and houses human rights books. Salasi selected 200 books in memory of the students whose initial peaceful protest led to the uprising. All these books share themes related to freedom, democracy, equality and human rights. access to the reading room is unrestricted, with the space designed to be used in different ways encouraging people to interact with each other though exchanging books,. the building is a monument to the power of literacy and literature in revolution. And now the sharing of ideas and knowledge is a keystone of democracy.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The museum which is referred to as NMAAHC for short is a museum that shows the history of African American History culture. The museum is a massive 313,000 square feet. The building features three stories inspired by Yoruban caryatid, a traditional West African carved figure with a crown.

The facades are covered with latticework inspired by African-American ironworkers in the South. The latticework comprised of 3,600 cast aluminium panels. The colours of the facade changes throughout the day, appearing copper-hued in sunlight and considerably darker in the evenings.

At the base of the building, the architects left the glass exposed. The upper portion is also left unobstructed, enabling views of the city.

Inside, the building contains galleries, an education centre and an auditorium, along with a cafeteria, store and offices. More than half of the museum is situated below ground.

Galleries feature high ceilings and concrete columns, lending an industrial feel to space.

Exhibits focused on slavery and freedom are situated in below-grade spaces, where visitors are meant to begin their tour. Presented on upper floors are materially related to pop culture, music, sports and the visual arts.

Memorial of Mass Extinction

I found this project particularly interesting because Its something that’s close to my heart and something I am passionate about in reservation of endangered animals, particularly Rhinos.

The building is positioned on the edge of a cliff. The building is designed to blend into the environment.

Inside this building will be stoned walls that will be carved with images of extinct species with space reserved for future extinctions. This will not be the buildings only feature as this will be an observatory and education centre.

There will also be a bell inside the structure that will ring when an animal becomes extinct. I feel like this building highlights the devastation on the animal world humans have. Hopefully this building will be a wake up call for our governments to act upon and do more to help endangered wildlife.

At the end of the exhibition is a custom typography created by David Reinfurt showing one of the Kings well known speeches. The Kings are well known as powerful and influential orators, and both delivered several memorable speeches in Boston. The King monument taps into this. Instead of focusing on events, movements or specific acts, it remembers speeches and words.

Adjaye’s design incorporates two interlocking main structures – one for each king – whose black stone surfaces will be engraved with a custom typeface made by typography David Reinfurt. His creative process began by looking at typewritten manuscripts used to assemble and deliver speeches. Next, Reinfurt adapted and modernised a typeface called Artisan, commissioned by IBM for its Selectric Typewriter in the 1960s, at the height of the civil rights movements. In an attempt to capture the complex cadences, gaps and musicality of the spoken word, Reinfurt emphasised various parts of the Kings’ text through variable typographic weights. As the recored voice rises the type become bolder, and as it lowers it becomes lighter, capturing the energy of the Kings’ oration.

Over all the exhibition is great. If you haven’t gone all ready make sure you go and check it out. I missed out a couple of projects because I wouldn’t want to spoil the exhibition for you showing you all the projects.

Designer Maker User

Designer Maker User features almost 1000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design viewed through the angles of the designer, manufacturer and user, including a crowdsourced wall. 

The exhibition covers a broad range of design disciplines, from architecture and engineering, to the digital world, fashion and graphics. Designer Maker User features a bold, colourful and engaging display designed by Studio Myerscough, with digital interactives by Studio Kin.