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Icon 160 – David Adjaye

Icon is a monthly magazine focusing on the best, most inspiring buildings, interiors, furnishings and fittings. It also celebrates the design process and the talented designers behind the most innovative work. It can be enjoyed equally by architecture and design professionals, and the design-literate public.
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Icon 160, the latest issue, features an interview with celebrated architect David Adjaye, previews the London Design Festival and explores the rise of Benjamin Hubert.

Icon 160 presents David Adjaye, one of architecture’s most enigmatic figures. The London-based architect is notoriously hard to pin down, skimming from one continent to another in the manner of a high-powered business exec. Sartorially he seems too cool (or self-aware) for an industry whose zenith is populated by balding middle-aged men in polo necks and bad jackets.

Further, the charismatic Adjaye has never nailed his colours to any kind of political or societal mast that made him easy to side with or react against. His varied portfolio reveals an ability to turn his hand to all kinds of building types: sensitive community projects demonstrated by the Idea Store in Whitechapel, one-off houses such as the Sunken House for friend and collaborator Ed Reeve and the monolithic cantilevering business school Skolkovo in Moscow. That he has managed to mix constructivism with plush retail interiors has made him all the harder to read. Adjaye is architecture’s method actor – a man to whom labels never quite seem to stick.

This month the architect will finally take the wraps off his National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. All-consuming and eight years in the making, it is a career-defining moment. In our profile, he speaks of this landmark project, an icon if ever there was one, with the awe of a man who cannot quite believe he pulled it off. Now complete, the building will thrust the London-based architect onto the world stage. The one label that may then fit is that of starchitect. – You can read about it in Icon 160.


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