David Adjaye – Collaborations

This documentary by Oliver Hardt offers a portrait of the British-Ghanaian architect through the eyes of his clients and collaborators.

Part of the event

This is the second documentary film by director Oliver Hardt on the work of British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye. The film was specially commissioned by the Haus der Kunst in Munich and The Art Institute of Chicago as part of the exhibition David Adjaye: Form, Heft, Material, curated by Okwui Enwezor and Zoë Ryan.

David Adjaye - Collaborations is a portrait of the architect through the eyes of his clients and collaborators who comprise a roster of influential figures in the art and cultural world. It features interviews and showcases a significant number of his architectural projects, including public buildings, residential houses, artist studios and exhibition spaces developed all over the world over the past 15 years.

Interview subjects include Peter Adjaye, Peter Allison, Okwui Enwezor, Thelma Golden, Julie Mehretu, Chris Ofili, Zoë Ryan, Taiye Selasi, Lorna Simpson, Deyan Sudjic and Sue Webster.

Their testimonies make the buildings come alive as physical reflections of their users' needs, whether it's artist Sue Webster's desire to have a studio that feels completely separate from her home to Chris Ofili's brief to have the gallery room housing his paintings at Victoria Miro Gallery in London feel like it is completely dislocated from the world around it.

But as Brooklyn artist Lorna Simpson notes, Adjaye's building are also a reponse to the particular qualities of light and space at each particular site. His architectural style does not employ recurring motifs that become his trademark but rather reveals itself slowly as an intelligent reaction to the history, vernacular and physical conditions of the project.

But Simpson observes one interesting common thread: "David's buildings have a kind of presence, wherever they are," says the artist, who engaged Adjaye to design her house. "They are always cloaked. They don't give a narrative of what this [building] is... People pass by my house and literally touch it to find out what it is."