Sir David Adjaye leads largest programme of design talks

Sir David Adjaye is regarded as one of the world’s most influential architects and designers. Speaking for the first time in the UAE, Sir David will take the Dubai Design Week stage in conversation with renowned commentator Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi. Taking place on the opening day of Dubai Design Week (Monday 13 November) the headline speaker event launches Dubai Design Week’s largest-ever programme of talks and workshops.

Renowned for large-scale cultural projects and buildings that can shape culture, the presentation promises to unveil Adjaye Associates approach to projects across the globe. Often challenged with high profile and dynamic briefs, the practice’s commitment to embracing the social agenda behind architecture, and providing access to knowledge through his buildings gives him a unique insight into the power of architecture to reflect and enhance ethical pride in both public and private spaces.

The practice Sir David heads is responsible for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC; a stand-out example of a project created to help shape people’s stories. The event will address story telling alongside a building’s ability to house artifacts and provide proximity and context; this is highlighted by the Aishti building in Beirut that contains the foundation’s art collection alongside a retail offering. Sir David commented on this building that ‘the juxtaposition of art and shopping presented the practice with the challenge to create and design an entirely new typology that would integrate two, often conflicting, worlds’.

Adjaye’s ability to establish new typologies, embrace knowledge-sharing and to drive a social agenda makes him a compelling headline speaker for the opening of Dubai Design Week 2017. The conversation with Sultan Al Qassemi - founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, a UAE-based initiative established to manage, preserve and exhibit an extensive collection of Modern and Contemporary Arab Art - will doubles deliver a series of insights and experiences not previously witnessed in Dubai.

The conversation will begin by asking about the process in which Sir David approaches the projects he is commissioned to design; who does he communicate with beyond the client, what are his sources of information on topics, how he approaches sites and the creative process of first imagining his buildings. Taking in his influences, including other architects and designers. Specifically exploring the African American history museum and the Aïshti foundation and whether the format of the latter could be a poetical model that ensures sustainability.