VIRGIL ABLOH, the Architect we didn't get to see! - LePolus

VIRGIL ABLOH, the Architect we didn't get to see!

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VIRGIL ABLOH, the architect we didn't get to see!


An old friend recently asked me: "What do you do for a living?"

I shortly replied, without hesitation: "I'm an architect, but I also love..." then stopped for a second: "Nevermind, I'm an architect! what about you?"

I just limited my skillset and decided to go with architecture because it's the main thing that I put focus on everyday; and deep down I'm conscious that it's hard to be two things at once. It's extremely hard, but definitely not impossible. many people did it before! Virgil definitely did it!

Virgil Abloh received a master's degree in architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology, he then decided not to pursue a traditional architectural route to continue his career, and made fashion brand instead.

We can use our architecture brain and do many things, not just what we're supposed to do...

Abloh truly loved architecture, and didn't gave it up, but decided to experiment in other fields that he passionately loved as well, in order to find another form of love for that discipline.

Virgil Abloh and architect Rem Koolhaas come together to talk; image via Piotr Niepsuj, courtesy of BURO.

While I was on my laptop, listening to the sound of the brief sharp click sounds that my workmates and I were making; the clicks collided to make one big symphony: an out of tempo symphony. I immediately started thinking about Abloh's idea: "I started a career to make a brand to do architecture rather than just work at an office..." he added. "I made a clothing brand to sort of investigate architecture in a way..." then it became clear to me that I need to put my headphones to avoid having ideas like that again :)

Virgil died a couple of days ago, he never built any building, still he had few projects/collabs in which he was able to leave his genius touch in the physical world, which makes him the architect we didn't get to see!

Off-white store in Paris/ Virgil Abloh + AMO

image by benoit florençon, courtesy OMA
image by benoit florençon, courtesy OMA

Abloh started to work at OMA under Rem Koolhas. The designer reflects: 

A lot of what I know and the way I approach things comes from what I learned at OMA under Rem Koolhaas. Back then, they were creating in a way that looked beyond buildings as places, but as affecting the landscape of culture through this lens of architecture.
courtesy OMA
image by benoit florençon, courtesy OMA
image by benoit florençon, courtesy OMA

Brutalist-Inspired Furniture for Galerie Kreo

In 2019, brutalist architecture inspired Virgil Abloh to create a collection of concrete furniture for Paris Studio Galerie Kreo in Paris. The collection, titled Efflorescence—a word for the way salt and moisture forms on the surface of brick, concrete, and other porous materials—included mirrors with circular cutouts, a bench inspired by a skate ramp, and monolithic stools and consoles.

Inspired from Brutalism and the urban landscape, Furniture in this collection was made from concrete, and was graffiti-covered.


Virgil working on the furniture collection

Abloh wrapped each piece with graffiti, combining the heritage of brutalist architecture with the street art expression. "To me, design always has the inherent idea of being a bridge from the past, with an eye toward the future."

Off-White Miami store / Virgil Abloh + AMO

Diagram - Courtesy of OMA

Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA
Diagram - Courtesy of OMA

The Miami Off-White store was another collaboration of Virgil Abloh and AMO director Samir Bantal, to become a fulfilment center and multipurpose events space. The project's main purpose was to rethink how physical shops should operate in an era where the digital shopping has become extremely popular.

Off-White Miami store / Courtesy of OMA
Off-White Miami store / Courtesy of OMA
Off-White Miami store / Courtesy of OMA
Off-white Miami store / Courtesy of OMA

Other Design projects by Virgil: 

Abloh's Petite Potence, Antony Chair, and Ceramic Block for Vitra.
The three products make up the entirety of the collection. Photo: Joshua Osborne
Chair Off-White Virgil Abloh x IKEA Collaboration MARKERAD Product Line

Sculpture Bag / Virgil Abloh x Ikea ©Appear here
Virgil at work - Courtesy of Hannah Garcia Fleer 

Some of Virgil's most famous quotes: 

I wanted to build skyscrapers because I figured if you could build the tallest building, you could design a spoon, you know?

I'm trying to inspire a generation of kids who largely weren't taught to believe that you could do these sorts of things

Young architects can change the world by not building buildings

My career has been about learning, and communicating emotion through design

Sometimes I still feel like the seventeen-year-old version of myself who didn't believe I could be a designer with a capital D

Being too consistent is a sham, it's fairytale, it's not real. Human beings are naturally at odds with themselves. We say one thing, we feel and do something else. Understanding that has been super liberating

I feel like I'm figuring things out, but I don't feel accomplished yet, I still feel like I'm an intern

I'm constantly inspired by my friends and the people I surround myself with and the cities I'm traveling to. All the movements are made up by my brain trust. None of us sip the kool-aid. We're all individuals; we're all critics; we all look at things from a discerning eye, and I synthesize those things





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