David Adjaye: Making Memory Exhibition

Making Memory is part of an ongoing series from the Design Museum in London, inviting designers to muse upon a theme of their choice in public. Sir David Adjaye, a British- Ghanian architect is the current designer to be exhibiting hid work as part of this series. The exhibition is to change how people experience memorials and monuments at the start of the 21st century.

The Exhibition really made you think about what the representation of a monument or memorial is. What emotions does a monument provoke within ones self and is it a reflection of a particular point in time? Within the exhibition there were several pieces of Adjaye’s work, however the one that caught my attention the most and made me think was the Sclera pavilion, which was part of the 2008 London Design Festival. The pavilion was designed to make you slow down, to stop and think about things.

People are becoming far less interested in religious places of worship and monuments, for a lot of people it is something that seems to be fashioned and now placed in history, rather than still being in the present. This pavilion provides all people of different backgrounds, raises and religions to have a place to come and just reflect. Somewhere that doesn’t lock anybody down to a particular meaning or point in time, a place that is personal to each individual as well as being a space that can bring people together.

Monuments are seen a reflection and remembrance of a particular time in history, whether it be good or bad, it is a place to reflect on a particular thing. However what Adjaye was trying to achieve is that “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,” From this it gave me the opportunity to reflect and take time to just slow down and think about things.

Whist as Adjaye said it was not a monument neither a memorial in a traditional senses. The concept of what is was is still the same. A place that people can come to, to be able to reflect, whether it be self-reflection or reflection on something specific it is a place to come and understand things more clearly.   

Even thought it was not the full pavilion that was part of the exhibition, only a section that had been built in the entranceway. From that and the model you could really understand how the use of singular wooden pillars allowed light to flood the space and throughout the day how the space would change depending on how the light filters into the pavilion. The way the sun falls onto the building will fill the pavilion in different ways depending on what time of the day people go into the space, allowing each person their own personal experience within the building. This gives the Pavillion a more personal meaning to those that use it, allowing them to have their own personal monument or memorial space. A place they can go to retreat and contemplate. A personal memorial of ones own reflections, making their own memory within a space.

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