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Knoll Collection – David Adjaye

Washington skeleton chair
Washington skin chair

In 2010 David Adjaye was invited to collaborate with the renowned design and furniture company,Knoll International, to create a furniture collection. The furniture explores
a number of themes – such as monumentality, materiality and history
– which are also evident in the practice’s architectural projects.

The collaboration was an opportunity to investigate materials, silhouettes and forms and required an engagement in a fascinating production process with Knoll’s technical team.

The collection includes two cantileverd chairs – the Washington Skin and Washington Skeleton. The primary idea behind the design was to mimic the form of a seated person in elevation, so that the chair almost disappears when in use. The ribbing pattern is then a drawing of the forces required to brace this shape – like an exo-skeleton. The Skeleton and Skin chairs are a positive and negative version of this same shape. Both metal and plastic each developed differently as the stress analysis revealed distinct structural needs (for example with the rib number and sizes) and to address issues with the casting process.

Washington corona table silo

The Washington Corona coffee table, is an investigation into the relationship between inside and outside, public and private, exposing and concealing – ideas which feed into the work of the practice more generally. The exterior is exposed in its raw, sandcast state and the interior is mirror polished. The contrast in the finish also highlights the two sides of the single, structural surfaces. The legs serve to fix the surfaces together and to support the glass so the form makes the structure. It is a surface that can receive things – but on its own has a visual power.


Design Now

The Lagos Home Design Show by Essential Interiors Magazine will hold from October 20th-22nd 2016. The Lagos Home Design Show was born out of the need for a platform to provoke new work by Nigerian product designers locally and in the international scene at the very top end, and to showcase it collectively to the architects, builders, real estate developers, designers, suppliers and collectors. The long term vision is to establish the Nigeria Designers Guild as a forum for Nigerian designers to challenge and support each other, unified by national origin, but with diverse views and voices, building a reputation for innovation, excellence and a truly fresh perspective.



Inspired by urban greening, INDIGENUS collaborates with top South African designers and architects to reimagine an essential element, the planter. Presenting planters as covetable design pieces in their own right, INDIGENUS is the brainchild of design entrepreneur Peter van der Post, who is committed to collaborating with the cream of South African design to create an international premium brand with distinctively South African roots.


Ifeanyi Oganwu talks art, design and Africa

  • Tell us about your studio, Expand Design
  • My operation is quite slim and retains a startup attitude. The concept behind Expand is borrowed from the Expanded Arts movement of the sixties and seventies when this group of artists practiced across disciplines in order to open up new possibilities and modes of expression. A typical scenario within this group would involve a music composer making sculpture or a vice versa. I’ve adopted this approach in order to develop a multidisciplinary studio practice working with several specialists from a range of industries. It also gives me a lot of flexibility to incorporate multiple technologies into the making process without the need for a large physical infrastructure


  • What is your design philosophy?
I aim to use the least means possible to express the relationship between a material and its encounter with a given typology at the moment in time.


  • Your designs have caught the attention of both the art and design worlds, what inspires you?
I’m inspired by conversations as well as visual data, I find travelling very rewarding so I spend as much time as possible taking in art and being outdoors.


  • It’s been noted that you work with specialized manufacturers as opposed to big brands, why?
The big brands uphold the twentieth century notion of industrial production which has several advantages as well as limitations. I’m quite happy to retain the experimental spirit of my practice while staying open to a dialogue that explores the areas where both cultures intersect.