"I'm working with five architects
at a time" - Kanye West


"I'm working with five architects at a time" - Kanye West

News: rapper Kanye West has revealed he is frustrated he's not taken seriously as a "real designer" and that he plans to move into architecture.

In an interview on BBC Radio 1 last night, West spoke to DJ Zane Lowe about how he wants to expand his creative field beyond music and fashion.

"I want to do product, I am a product person," said West. "Not just clothing but water bottle design, architecture... I make music but I shouldn't be limited to once place of creativity."

The interview was originally intended to be about his latest album Yeezus but West spoke about his creative passions and ambition throughout: "I hang around architects mostly," he said. "People that wanna make things as dope as possible."

"I'm learning what I want," he said. "This is the reason why I'm working with five architects at a time. The time spent in a bad apartment, I can't get that back. But the education I can get from working on it is priceless."

Air Yeezy trainers by Kanye West for Nike
Air Yeezy trainers by Kanye West for Nike

West has already established himself as a fashion designer, having released his Air Yeezy trainers for Nike in 2009 and showed his DW Kanye West womenswear collections at Paris Fashion Week. "I spend 80% of my time on [fashion design] and 20% of my time on music," he explained.

He said he started designing trainers at the age of five: "I've got a very particular specific take on men's footwear. No one can say I can't design or don't know how to design a guy's sneaker."

However, West was disappointed Nike didn't extend his trainer line after 2011 even though pairs of his Air Yeezy trainers "eBayed for $90,000". He also claimed to be knocked back by Fendi after taking his designs for tight leather trousers to the Italian fashion house.

West vented his frustration that as a musician he is not taken seriously in the fashion world. "I'm so frustrated," he said. "I've got ideas on colour palettes, I've got ideas on silhouettes. I've got a million people telling me why I can't do it, that I'm not a real designer."

He spoke of his resentment that musicians' forays into fashion design are limited to tour paraphernalia. "We're making product with chitlin'. T-shirts, that's the most we can make. T-shirts. We can have our best perspective on T-shirts but anything else and your Truman Show boat is hitting the wall."

Seven-screen pavilion by OMA for Kanye West

Design collaborations he mentioned included his Watch the Throne tour set design with production designer Es Devlin and the pyramid-shaped cinema by architects OMA, where his first short film was screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

Last week graphic designer Peter Saville disclosed he is working on a new visual identity for West, saying the rapper "wants me to do a YSL".

West announced he was to launch his own design company named DONDA early last year and hoped to assemble a team of architects, designers and directors to work with him.

Dezeen featured renderings of West's New York apartment designed by architect Claudio Silverstrin in 2007. See all our stories about Kanye West »

Main image of Kanye West is courtesy of Shutterstock.

  • fede


    This Kimmel spoof basically nails it- the truman show boat snippet really got me: it was already ridiculous in written form, but in video it really reaches new heights.

    Kanye; if you’re reading this and want to take my place doing models in the studio while i enjoy a couple weeks in Rome with Fendi, well be my guest :)

  • Chance

    You may not be an architect, BUT you’ve got “dope” down cold! In fact, you and dope are one in the same. If you want to be an architect then put in the time, get the degree, learn how to build. Having clever ideas doesn’t make you an architect. Some humility would help too…

  • Al Fresco

    Education or not it’s the results. Produce some serious ones = will be taken seriously. The more serious, the better. Seriously :)

  • Christie Marshall

    An artist, using a different medium. I design business forms, which doesn’t give me the right to demand the world take me serious as a building designer.

  • faze

    Kanye is just another narcissist entertainer who has let his fame go to his head. He’s an architect like I’m Kanye West. Why doesn’t he just shut up and go back home to his kid, who I already feel sorry for. Growing up with narcissist parents is not going to fun for that kid!

  • Black Dove

    Architects want to hang around Kanye. No, an architect’s credentials cannot flow into Kanye, but didn’t he only state that he’s a designer? Heidi Klum is that, right? Sophia Vergara for Kmart. Timberlake designed his restaurant in TN. What’s the big deal with Kanye doing it?

  • gufo

    I wonder if Kanye will enjoy his new salary as an architect.

  • Mariam Watt

    I think he should stay away from architecture. Stick to his “ground breaking” beige sneakers. If a shoe is badly designed, no matter how “dope”- you get shinsplints. If a building is badly designed, you get mass casualties. Keep Kanye harmless- where his delusions of greatness only hurt himself. Please.

  • uıʍpooƃʞɔıu

    If you actually watched the interview, which I assume about 3 of the readers of Dezeen actually accomplished, you’d understand that Kanye’s use of the word “architect” is being taken 100% out of context. Much like his comparison of water bottles and actual architecture is being taken out of context, for what reason I can only assume to be demeaning Mr. West.

    When Kanye refers being an “architect,” he’s not stating that he’d like to be employed as a professional architect, he’s implying that he is a creator.

    I’m sure the knowledge of rap history is lacking amongst this group, so I’ll enlighten. Kanye West has changed what is popular in rap music production with literally every album he’s released. Simple enough of a description.

    What Kanye is saying is that he’d like to take his creative mindset to the world of physical products. He’s tired of being the face of a product, he wants to be the creator. And being “the creator” isn’t as concrete as actually creating the renderings.

    The man can dream and develop and sell. More power to him.

  • uıʍpooƃʞɔıu

    In the full interview, Kanye goes on to note that Fendi has since developed and released leather trousers — after they told him it wouldn’t work. His thesis (that this article missed horribly) is essentially that he’s tired of marketing and wants to start creating. Pretty simple. Pretty okay.

  • uıʍpooƃʞɔıu

    Watching the actual interview before reading this article makes it seem a lot like this article was written by someone who just read another sh**** review of the interview, then regurgitated yet another sh**** review of the interview.

  • nnnnnn

    Probably bought his own shoe. Fool.

  • Rich

    Sadly he’s got the money to surround himself with talented architects and take credit for their abilities.

  • Ainslie Innes

    It would be much more palatable if Kanye seemed to respect the discipline himself. His approach is totally unconventional and seems to stem more from neurosis than a desire to articulate space.

  • K. London

    I hope this article will make more millions of people telling him not to. And let’s hope some them will be educated enough to explain why. For this is the only function I see this article may serve.

  • Annie Vu

    SOMEONE STOP HIM! Architecture cannot become mainstream, like Lady Gaga and all the jokes, oh my God.

  • Paul Jannetta

    Kanye West needs to remember to rhyme all the noises that come from his face. It’s what he does and the more he doesn’t do it the more of this blah blah blah hanging round too many yes people will happen. Hanging with architects and being all bohemian… Get a grip dude. Not that he needs to, but DUDE.

  • Arjay Cee

    After he conquers design, he’ll be performing your triple bypass, too.

  • Peter

    Is Kanye West still mixing it with dope architects?

  • ss

    So, everybody can do everything this days. How many architects wannabe musicians are there? Not saying rappers are proper musicians, because they don’t get studies, am I right?

  • kutay

    Just apply to school, let us see what you got, because clearly you haven’t got Tadao Ando-like material to shape, you know what?

    I hang around physicists most of the time, Oh… Wow, I am a theoretical physicist, who cares professional education when you got money… right?

  • Richard_Balkins

    I’ll remind people here that the profession of architect had long existed LONG before there was such a thing as a state bureaucracy to license who may practice architecture and not. In addition, there are countries in the world that do not have architectural licensing requirements, including modern western world countries with modern building codes comparable to that of the United States.

    There is statutory definitions for the word architect and the “practice of architecture” in the United States and throughout many countries, but there are countries that does not restrict the title. This licensing bureaucracy is a very modern and very recent fabrication in the history of architecture and the profession of architecture. If Kanye and even Brad Pitt and others were to practice architecture in connection with the designing and construction of buildings and structures in countries where licensing is not required, it is fully and legally compliant and legitimate (provide there isn’t severe material fraud involved) as the US laws does not apply.

    Despite urban myth, the US does not dictate the laws and rules of all the countries throughout the world. As a matter of fact, you can practice architecture in a number of federal territories without requiring an architect license as those territories does not have architectural licensing requirements and may fall outside of US member states’ jurisdiction. The world isn’t so black and white like that cartoon legal practice class you guys took, along with those “Mickey Mouse” tests that were taken.

  • JMFM

    I’m an architect. I don’t like hanging out with architects, they’re boring and only talk about architecture.