Germane Barnes awarded the 2022 Miami Design District Neighborhood Commission – The Artsology Blog

The Miami Design District recently announced that Germane Barnes has been awarded the 2022 Miami Design District Annual Neighborhood Commission. Following a competitive, invitation-only proposal process directed by curators Anava Projects, Miami Design District has selected the Miami-based architect’s concept, “Rock | Roll,” to be realized across the neighborhood’s public spaces, debuting in November for Miami Art Week and extending into 2023.

Germane Barnes (left), and a rendering of his “Rock | Roll” seating capsules to be installed in the Miami Design District.

For the neighborhood’s central pedestrian corridors, Barnes designed a series of whimsical, larger-than-life seating capsules that rock back-and-forth when activated by users and feature colorful, shaggy surfaces reminiscent of Miami Carnival’s hallmark feathered costumes. With a nod to steel drums and the infectious joy of Soca music, Barnes has also designed brightly hued wind chimes, hundreds of which will be hung like melody-making ornaments in the lush native trees and palms planted throughout the neighborhood.

Fabricated by ALT BLD, the Barnes “Rock | Roll” installation includes an architectural-scale, free-floating dome (pictured below) that recalls a giant disco ball in both form and function. Suspended far overhead and animated by light and sound, the shiny, faceted structure will serve as a programmatic marker to an outdoor gathering space dedicated to sharing and enjoying community-driven storytelling. For the duration of the “Rock | Roll” installation, the space will host Carnival-inspired playlists as well as a talks series developed in collaboration with University of Miami’s Center for Global Black Studies and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.

Germane Barnes art installation Miami Design District
Rendering of an art installation by Germane Barnes for the Miami Design District.

Barnes notes: “I saw this project as an opportunity to celebrate the unique character of the city that has become my adopted home and the subject of much of my most prominent research. Rock | Roll is an ode to the joyful spirit that persists in Miami’s Black communities — a spirit of self-care that is so perfectly embodied in Miami Carnival culture. This city would not be what it is today without significant contributions from people who, on the one hand, look like me, and on the other reflect deep ties to places beyond Miami, especially the Caribbean and Latin America. The moral to the story is that there is space for everyone here.”

Germane Barnes is a Chicago-born, University of Illinois- and Woodbury University-trained architect regarded for his propositional practice dedicated to mining the ways that race and architecture entwine, implicitly and explicitly, historically and today. Barnes’ recent prestigious honors include the Rome Prize in Architecture, the Harvard Wheelwright Prize, the Architectural League Prize, and an inaugural grant from Theaster Gates and Prada’s Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab. In addition to running his independent eponymous studio, Barnes is an Assistant Professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture. You can learn more about him here on his website.