Adam Rolston is the Creative Director and Managing Partner at INC Architecture & Design, a multidisciplinary architecture and design studio based in New York City. Formed in 2006 by Rolston and partners Drew Stuart and Gabriel Benroth, INC specializes in a wide range of projects – from high-end residential to hospitality to industrial design. Each project is a unique blend of their clients’ wishes and requests, employing each of the partners complementary strengths through context, details and technology.
Today Rolston joins us for Friday Five. Of his picks he had to say, “In this time of Covid and in the context of the BLM civil unrest sweeping our nation, it seemed important to do a little soul searching about what I “like” and why. As a jewish, gay, activist, designer, artist, architect (yeah, sorry I went there) I am often drawn to the work of outliers. The work of those on the margins laboring to find a voice, in struggles profoundly different but parallel to mine, have always brought me solace. Misery loves company. In this moment white people need to play a supporting role by listening to, and taking the lead from, black women and men on the frontlines of a historic struggle. I thought it would be good to offer five of the black makers, designers and artists whose work I have admired.”
1. The futurist modernism of Paul Revere Williams
California’s first licensed African American architect helped define the look and feel of Los Angeles in the mid-century, with more than 3,000 buildings across the city. I grew up in L.A. I didn’t know it at the time but his buildings, interiors and objects had a profound influence on my interests.
2. Ceramic works by Simone Leigh
The artist combines her training in American ceramics with an interest in African pottery, using African motifs with a reductive modernist hand. Her work balances abstraction and symbolic content in a way that I find unnerving and exhilarating at the same time.
3. The Nwa-Mulamula collection by fashion designer Rich Mnisi
This South African named his first furniture collection Nwa-Mulamula after his great grandmother, the “guardian figure”. The chaise in this collection is one of the most compelling objects I’ve seen in recent memory. It balances biomorphic/anthropomorphic form AND sensual comfort with a boldness that inspires.
4. The 1963 Ford Bronco designed by McKinley Thompson Jr.
McKinley Thompson Jr. was Ford’s first African American designer and the designer of mid-century American car design icons, including the Mustang, Thunderbird and Bronco. The Bronco has been my favorite car since I was a kid – my mom had one. Ford is re-releasing it this year and it’s a beauty! I don’t know what it will cost, but I want one.
5. The art of Jennie C. Jones
Jennie C. Jones’ interdisciplinary practice seeks to engage viewers visually and aurally. Drawing on painting, sculpture, sound and installation, Jones’ conceptual works reflect on the legacy of modernism and minimalism. Jones is an outlier. She fits neither in the “activist” artist box nor the “assimilationist” box. She has found her own path and that is brave.
Work by Adam Rolston: