David Adjaye curates Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum

David Adjaye curates Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum

David Adjaye has created a "provocation or a question" for the public with an exhibition on his monuments and memorials at the Design Museum in London.

Making Memory covers seven major works, built and unbuilt, by Adjaye Associates, including the recently completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, and Accra's upcoming National Cathedral of Ghana.

David Adjaye curated Making Memory, and exhibition of his work at London's Design Museum
Making Memory has opened at the Design Museum in London

Adjaye, a British-Ghanian architect who was knighted for his work in 2017, said the exhibition was designed to challenge how people experience memorials and monuments a the start of the 21st century

The exhibition includes the controversial UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre planned for outside Parliament in London, designed in collaboration with Ron Arad Architects. It also features a proposal for a Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory, designed with Sebastian Brooke for a site on the English coast.

David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
The exhibition showcases seven of David Adjaye's projects

"Making Memory is set up as a provocation or a question to the public," Adjaye said in his opening statement.

"The monument is no longer a representation, it is an experience of time and place that is available to everyone. Whether it's for a nation, a race, a community, or a person, it is really used as a device to talk about the many things facing people across the planet," he continued.

David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
Each project in the exhibition is displayed in a room alongside items that informed the design

Making Memory, while not a retrospective, draws out a "thread" running through Adjaye's work and spins it into a narrative arc.

"That thread is this idea of working in the public realm at maybe the scale of the ordinary, or sometimes at the scale of the national or the international and creating projects which have in built in them a way of recording our time in some way," he told Dezeen.

David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
The National Cathedral of Ghana is one of the seven projects in the exhibition

Models of each of the seven projects, selected personally by Adjaye, sit in their own rooms and are displayed next to objects and architectural details that informed their designs.

Quotes and poems are displayed on the walls next to video displays and projections. Each of the rooms has its own soundscape composed around a corresponding theme by Peter Adjaye, the architect's DJ brother.

David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
A full scale replica of part of the Sclera Pavilion is included in the display

A browsable library shelf has been installed in the display room for the Gwangju River Reading Room in South Korea. Visitors can also experience full-scale replica of part of the Sclera Pavilion, from the London Design Festival 2008.

In the final room of Making Memory a mock-up for the Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Boston shows custom typeface called Speech-to-text by David Reinfurt, which fluctuates in the depth of its engraving to mimic the cadence of King's cadences.

David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
Making Memory's final room contains a stone engraved with a Martin Luther King Jr speech

Making Memory is part of an ongoing series from the Design Museum, inviting designers to muse upon a theme of their choice in public.

The Smithsonian Museum won Design of the Year 2017 as part of the Design Museum's awards programme.

Photography is by Ed Reeve.

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David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum
David Adjaye Making Memory exhibition at the Design Museum