David Adjaye Named as the First Recipient of the Charlotte Perriand Award

Sir David Adjaye was commended for his contributions to architecture, design and the community. The inaugural Charlotte Perriand award, which is an honor established by The Createurs Design Awards, recognizes excellence in design and inspires future generations. Adjaye Associates founder and Ghanian-British 2021 RIBA Gold Medalist, Adjaye Adjaye, was chosen for his “go beyond becoming city landmarks” and his holistic approach to developing residential, commercial and cultural typologies.

The 2021 Royal Gold Medal was awarded to Sir David Adjaye by The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). This award was announced two years ago. His work, which spans over 25 years, has earned him international recognition. These include a number of innovative and global interventions that have been recognized, including private houses, exhibitions and furniture design as well as major cultural buildings and masterplans. He has recently completed the 21st Serpentine Pavilion in collaboration with American artist Theaster gates. The Black Chapel installation “will pay tribute to British craft and manufacturing tradition”.

The Barbados Heritage District. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

David Adjaye was named the Barbados Heritage District’s lead designer in late 2021. This project was dedicated to documenting and retracing the effects of slavery on Barbados and other cultures and nations of the Western hemisphere. The architect used the techniques and philosophy of traditional African prayer sites, pyramids, and tombs to design the space. It honors the dead and will manifest a “new diasporic future of Black civilization”. This space is both African and distinct from the continent. In the Agenda 111 initiative, the Ghanian Government has commissioned the architect to design district hospitals. The architect was also selected as one of London’s 30 Most Influential Architects.

Preliminary Design for Edo Museum of West African Art in Nigeria. Image Courtesy of Adjaye Associates

Charlotte Perriand, a French Modernist artist and designer, is often overlooked in the history of the industry. After her studies in furniture design, she was fired by Le Corbusier. He claimed that his office doesn’t embroider cushions. Her work was displayed at the Salon d’Automne and she was hired by Le Corbusier to be a furniture designer in his office. Perriand is well-known for producing three of Le Corbusier’s most famous chairs, the B301 and B306, as well as the LC2 Grand Comfort. The designer was active in leftist organizations in the 1930’s and founded the Union des Artists Moderns in 1938. She began to add “humanity” to Le Corbusier’s designs, making them more accessible, functional, and attractive furniture for the masses. Perriand was invited by the Ministry for Trade and Industry to go to Japan in 1940 as an advisor. After the Second World War, Perriand was held by a naval blockade. She was forced to exile in Vietnam where she studied oriental design, weaving, woodwork and this greatly influenced her later designs.

Charlotte Perriand, one of the four female architects highlighted in Carmen Espegel's "Women Architects in the Modern Movement" book.. Image © Robert Doisneau [Wikimedia], under public license.

The Createurs Design Awards created the Charlotte Perriand award this year. It honors Charlotte Perriand’s legacy. The Perriand Award will be presented each year to influential creatives who continue Perriand’s “vision and commitment towards architecture, design, and art.” The CDA is a peer-to-peer award program that recognizes outstanding work in interior design, product and architecture. The voting members of the award are part of a distinguished group that includes international journalists and design leaders from 32 countries.