“As an architect I am always aware of both the building as a kind of body, an outer skin that creates a form we inhabit, and of bodies themselves living and moving in space. The work of my practice is often analogous to the curves of a female form.”
Pioneering, inventive, and distinguished, Amanda Levete trained at the Architectural Association, and after working for Richard Rogers, joined Jan Kaplicky as a partner at Future Systems in 1989. Recognized worldwide for consistently challenging traditional pre-conceptions of space and demonstrating sensitivity to environmental concerns and efficiency, Future Systems have been quoted as ‘laying down the agenda for architecture in the 21st century.’ A balance kept between experimental and real projects allowed Future Systems to remain at the cutting-edge of the field while it remained in operation until 2009.
The buildings they have realized have been award winning and seminal in their influence, including the Haur King House, he West India Quay Floating Bridge, the Natwest Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground, which received the Stirling prize in 1999, and the extraordinary “fly’s eye’ department store of Selfridges in Birmingham. Future Systems has produced tableware designs for Alessi and installations for the showrooms of the international fashion chains Comme des Garcons in New York, Tokyo, and Paris.
After Kaplicky passed away in 2009, Levete branched out on her own as principal and founder of the award-winning architectural firm AL_A, where she left an indelible mark on the contemporary architectural landscape with iconic works like an extension at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon. As one of the 4 teams shortlisted to redesign the Eiffel Tower ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympic games in Paris, Levete will reimagine the visitor experience for those who interact with the tower, undoubtedly bringing her expressive visuals and bold materiality to amaze guests from all over the world.
As a furniture designer, Amanda Levete is perhaps most known for the Drift series and the Chester sofa, both produced by British-based manufacturers Established & Sons. Named for the iconic Chesterfield sofa, the Chester functions equally well as a luxurious chaise for one or a communal spot for many. As a bench or low table, Drift serves multiple functions for flexible spaces. Two concepts converged to give inspiration to this poetic, sculptural form: on the one hand came an idea of driftwood as the unintentional form that washes up ashore, and on the other, a vision of a line gently drifting backwards in space.
In June 2008, Levete gave a lecture hosted by Luminaire, preceding reception and special exhibition during the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago. One-of-a-kind novelties such as the North, part of the Around the Corner series featured at the Salone del Mobile 2008, were flown in especially for this event. Later in the year, during Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami, Levete presented ‘Repeat’ for Luminaire’s exhibition and auction to raise funds for cancer research. ‘Repeat’ explored the architectural idea of using identical motifs that create visual interest and complexity.
Through a luxurious exploration of geometries in space, fluid, animated, and dramatic, Levete pushes the boundaries of what good design can be, revealing unexpected solutions with revolutionary materials and organic forms, expressive, imaginative, and innovative.
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