by Zohra KhanOct 06, 2022
Acclaimed Ghanian-British architect Sir David Adjaye has been announced as the inaugural winner of the new Charlotte Perriand Award at the Créateurs Design Awards 2022. Bestowed in memory of the celebrated French architect and designer, whose pioneering work played an integral role in shaping the face of modern architecture and design in the 20th century, this award marks the first instance where Charlotte Perriand’s family has permitted the use of her name beyond her immediate body of work.
The Créateurs Design Awards is a peer-to-peer awards program established to highlight exceptional work in the fields of architecture, interior design, product design, and creative journalism, with winners selected by a cohort of over 200 distinguished professionals from 32 countries. Launched with its first edition in 2020, the design awards are returning with an in-person gala this year, in Paris, France, following an online presentation for the 2021 edition. Envisioned as a version of the Academy Awards for the design world, the star-studded ceremony on March 26 will feature the presentation of accolades to winners from 12 categories. In addition to this, the Créateurs Design Awards will also honour American fashion icon and interior designer Iris Apfel with the Andrée Putman Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the renowned French interior and product designer.
In a similar vein, the newly instituted Charlotte Perriand Award was created to recognise "trailblazers like Perriand - before the end of their career, while they are still making waves in the shelter industry". The maverick French designer gained recognition during the mid-20th century while working alongside Jean Prouvé, Le Corbusier, and Pierre Jeanneret, particularly from her famous designs for the B306 Chaise Longue, and the LC Collection, which have since gone on to become timeless classics in the canon of modernist furniture design. Her contributions also extended to iconic architectural projects such as the Unité d'habitation in Marseille - where she designed kitchens and interiors - as well as later projects undertaken as a freelance designer, which included the League of Nations Building in Geneva, along with the Arc 1600, Arc 1800, and Arc 2000 modernist apartments at the Les Arcs ski resort in France, among many others. Her work was also the subject of a recent exhibition at the Design Museum in London.
Interestingly, a common theme that drove much of Perriand’s work was her firm belief in the potential of good design to contribute towards the betterment of society as a whole. On this note, as the award’s first honouree, Adjaye, in his acceptance of the prize has likened her influence on him to that of a personal role model, sharing in a press statement that "she was really expansive in thinking about what the profession could be and understood the role of designers in their responsibility toward making the 21st century as beautiful and as empowering and as edifying as possible for people of all races - and for our human civilisation to thrive”.
As the recipient of the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, Adjaye has a stellar career behind him, receiving numerous plaudits for high-profile commissions such as the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo, Ruby City Hall in San Antonio, Texas, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, 130 William in New York, the Nobel Peace Center in Norway, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture - a Smithsonian Institute on the national mall in Washington DC, USA. Other projects by his firm, Adjaye Associates that are currently in the works include: the National Cathedral of Ghana, the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in South Africa, as well as The Africa Institute in Sharjah, and the Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, UAE. More recently, he has also been revealed as a collaborator on the 2022 Serpentine Pavilion designed by American artist Theaster Gates.
Teamwork has been a key element throughout Adjaye’s body of work, with the architect once remarking that “art and architecture collaboration is central in the practice of my studio”. Perriand’s daughter, Pernette Perriand-Barsac, herself an admirer of Adjaye’s work, has shared that her only regret is that her mother wasn’t able to meet him as she passed away in 1999. “When I read his words in the press or his approach that he describes on social networks, I see how great their proximity is, to the point that a real dialogue takes place beyond time,” says Pernette Perriand-Barsac in an official release.
More information about the 2022 award nominees can be found here.