DAVID ADJAYE

PUBLICNESS AS A CONDITION OF POTENTIALITY AND PAROCHIALISM: 8:40AM: N.16 7 DR: 9:00AM: E1 1BU

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, I leave my house on Osbaldeston Road in Stoke Newington N–16, turn right, then left down Casenove Road, past the Rabbi School and the Gujarati Muslim Centre, past the bearded Hassidic patriarchs, heads bent in conversation, past the Muslim youth talking about the new Nokia 770 to Stoke Newington High Street, where I enter the empty station, descend the stairs to take the 9:15am overground train to Whitechapel. I exit right, walk under the tunnel, bear right across the concrete playground with the red diagonal sculptures, and keep going until I reach Whitechapel High Street.

There I turn right again and enter Whitechapel tube; bound for platform 5 East London Line to New Cross for Goldsmiths College. This route, by sheer luck, has allowed me to witness the inauguration of David Adjaye’s Whitechapel Idea Store. For a long while, I became a human steadicam, staring at the partial volume of the West façade, the laminated green and blue glass panels that picked up, amplified, and projected the striped canopies of the High Street market stalls. Over time it became clear that the Idea Store was, and is, a very peculiar building; in fact it was nothing less than a new building type for London, a five storey block of libraries and classrooms, a crèche, a dance studio, and a cafe whose nearest relative might be Toyo Ito’s Mediatheque in Sendai, Japan.

adjaye_02_ret

What struck me, and what continues to provoke, was how quickly this new structure infiltrated itself into the Muslim vernacular of High Street. David Adjaye had designed an event that could contribute to the defiantly parochial complexity of everyday life. Adjaye’s singularity lies here: in creating spaces that allow for an engagement with the sociality of the urban, his buildings do not repair or rescue or regenerate publicness; rather, they find ways to infiltrate the condition of publicness with potentiality.

www.adjaye.com, www.ideastore.co.uk

 

Text by KODWO ESHUN, Photography JUERGEN TELLER

Related Content

  • Deeper

  • Thus Spoke Bischofberger: Artforum’s Eternally Swiss Back Cover

    An advertisement for the art gallery belonging to dealer and collector Bruno Bischofberger has occupied the back cover of every issue of Artforum since April 1987. Seen out of context and en masse, the eternally Swiss contents of these promotions at first appear idiosyncratic; upon further scrutiny, however, they seem insane.More
  • Apparel

    032c “Dark Times” Brecht T-Shirt Black

    €50
    Buy Now
  • Société de 032c: GLOBAL PREDICTIONS from Cyber Oracle SITA ABELLAN

    “The major debate everyone is avoiding is how technology will modify our society and economy,” says the model, DJ, and self-proclaimed “techno princess” in a series of dystopian prophecies. “Technology is forging our behavior and will deeply affect who we become as human beings. Avoiding discussions about the use of technology without limitations and restraints will cause major injustices.”More
  • 032c WWB Collection

    032c WWB Turtleneck Camouflage

    €80
    Buy Now
  • Apparel

    032c Classics Logo Beanie

    €40
    Buy Now
  • Salty, Litigious, Iconoclastic: DAVID SIMON on TV as discourse

    With “The Wire,” DAVID SIMON accomplished the unlikely feat of captivating both West ­Baltimore bruisers and The New Yorker subscribers for an hour a week, over the course of six years. Twenty years into television’s latest “Golden Age,” as the creative blueprint pioneered by Simon and shows like The Sopranos unfurls into an endless stream of content from Amazon and Netflix, we revisit our 2011 interview with Simon from 032c Issue 20.More
  • OG? OK! Onitsuka Tiger Unveils 70th Anniversary OK Basketball Shoes in Berlin

    At their store on Alte Schönhauserstrasse in Berlin, Japanese footwear mainstays Onitsuka Tiger held a Japan-themed mini festival to herald the arrival of the OK Basketball MT and the OK Basketball Lo: two new shoes inspired by the groundbreaking design that ignited the Onitsuka Tiger brand almost 70 years ago.More
  • CROSS-DRESSING IN THE WEHRMACHT: Unseen Practices at the German Front

    While collecting amateur photography from periods during and after the war, Berlin-based visual artist Martin Dammann would, “from time to time,” stumble upon photographs of cross-dressing soldiers. Provoked, he began to seek out more, drawn to the “kaleidoscope of emotional states” that they revealed: “Desire for women. Desire for men. To be a woman. To be elsewhere. To be someone else.” More
  • THE BIG FLAT NOW: Power, Flatness, and Nowness in the Third Millennium

    As a contemporary metaphor, flatness describes how the invention of the Internet has restructured global society. At its origin, its promise was a social revolution founded on intersectional equality and universal democracy. It is our contention that that promise may yet be fully realized.More