Intelligent Design

David Adjaye’s first midcareer survey opens in Chicago.

David Adjaye

“Making Place,” David Adjaye’s first midcareer survey, opening September 19 (through January 3, 2016) at the Art Institute of Chicago, could easily be mistaken for a group show. The Ghanaian-British starchitect, 48, traverses borders both geographical and disciplinary, and the 40 projects on view exemplify his staggering range, from models of his soon-to-open National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C., to the sculptural bronze coffee table he created for Knoll. What ties Adjaye’s work together isn’t any specific aesthetic but his propensity for tailoring each project to its local context—and his frequent habit of collaborating with art world clients. He has designed homes and installations for the painter Chris Ofili, and he recently filled the largest exhibition space at the Venice Biennale with a temporary museum. He has spent so much time working on galleries and museums, in fact, that it was inevitable he’d finally end up in one.