News: architect David Adjaye has unveiled his design for a facility to house master silk weavers in Varanasi, India.
The building will provide a hub for training artisans in silk weaving, as well as offering classes in business development. Facilities will include clean water, green energy and communal areas to help improve the quality of life for residents of the world's oldest living city.
The project was commissioned by luxury clothing and accessories brand Maiyet, which has partnered with non-profit organisation Nest and challenged David Adjaye "to respect the integrity of the location and partnership" in his design.
"This project is an amazing combination of context, place and tradition. It represents the reinvigoration of an extraordinary craft that is knitted to the heritage of Varanasi: its diverse culture, religion and architecture," said Adjaye, adding on his website: "The building aims to engage with this legacy - while offering a new contemporary typology for an artisanal workshop that will provide a much needed space for a wider community."
We spoke to David Adjaye earlier this year during our Dezeen and MINI World Tour visit to Design Indaba in South Africa, where he told us about the opportunities available to architects in Africa.
Adjaye has also designed an exhibition of work by Indian architect Charles Correa that is currently on show at the RIBA in London – see all architecture by David Adjaye.
Here's a statement released by Maiyet:
Maiyet announces Varanasi project
Maiyet launches a limited edition capsule collection with Barneys New York, featuring the exclusive collaboration between Maiyet, Nest and master silk weavers from Varanasi, India
May 9th, 2013- Maiyet is deeply committed to forging partnerships with artisans to promote sustainable business growth in challenging global economies. The brand who pioneers new luxury by celebrating rare skills from unexpected places found in Varanasi, India, the perfect place to launch a strategic partnership with Nest – an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to training and developing artisan businesses. "During our first trip to India, we recognized the amazing potential of the hand woven silks of Varanasi as true artisanal luxury, with the help of Nest, we are now capable of partnering with an inspiring group of artisans to consistently create unique, modern and beautiful materials." said Kristy Caylor Creative Director and President of Maiyet.
Varanasi, India is the oldest living city on earth with the incredible historic tradition of ancient hand-woven silk. In order to keep this rare skill alive Maiyet and Nest have worked together with the Varanasi weavers to rethink, redesign and redefine their craft production in a way that is revolutionary. As part of the strategic partnership program, Maiyet and Nest develop training programs, business and leadership development. The implementation of a weaving facility in Varanasi will create the first hub to centralize the program.
Paul van Zyl, Co-founder and CEO of Maiyet believes "this silk weaving facility will help preserve a cultural treasure and allow a community to earn sufficient resources to lead a life of dignity." The facility will improve the capacity and the ability of the weavers as well as be a place to train the next generation of artisans. The facility will also be a community center providing clean water, green energy, training and communal spaces for meetings and events. This is a full circle moment for the young luxury brand and the group of weavers who have been working together since Maiyet’s first debut collection in October 2011.
Maiyet has commissioned renowned architect David Adjaye to design the facility – challenging him to respect the integrity of the location and partnership. "This project is an amazing combination of context, place and tradition. It represents the reinvigoration of an extraordinary craft that is knitted to the heritage of Varanasi: its diverse culture, religion and architecture," said Adjaye. Adjaye has won a number of prestigious commissions; he was recently selected in a competition to design the $500 million national Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Some of his past work includes the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo and the private home of Alexander McQueen.
Maiyet’s limited edition capsule collection of ready-to-wear pieces and accessories are available exclusively at Barneys New York.