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The Miami Design District has named architect and designer Germane Barnes, the 2022 Annual Design Commission winner. Barnes’ leading installation Rock | Roll is designed to commemorate and celebrate the communities that have built Miami’s vibrant and dynamic multi-faceted culture. Developed as a love letter to the people of Miami, Rock | Roll is a multi-scale installation inspired by the visual language of Miami Carnival to honor the BIPOC communities of Miami who have contributed to the city’s one-of-a-kind, multi-ethnic culture.

Annually the commission’s winner is tasked with decorating the public spaces of the district—playing upon neighborhoods’ native trees and palm trees, architecture and outdoor sculptures. Referencing Caribbean folklore, Barnes’ designed a series of playful, larger-than-life seating capsules, that can rock back and forth when activated by users and sport banded strands of vivid colors nodding to Carnival’s iconic feathered costumes. These seating installations can be found at the fair entrance and the Design District’s central pedestrian corridors.

Paying tribute to the steel drums and joy and Soca music, Barnes additionally designed colorful music-making ornaments located in the lush native trees and palm trees throughout the district. Last but not least, Rock | Roll features an architectural-scale, free-floating, kaleidoscope dome that emulates a disco ball in both its functionality and appearance. Suspended overhead and illuminated by light and sound the beaming sculpture brings to life an outdoor gathering space dedicated to sharing and uniting in community-driven storytelling.

This project has been fabricated by Atlanta-based ALT BLD and was developed in collaboration with the Center for Global Black Studies at the University of Miami and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami. Barnes is the first Miami-based creative to win the highly anticipated and invitation-only design commission. Currently, Barnes is an Assistant Professor and the Director of The Community Housing & Identity Lab (CHIL) at the University of Miami School of Architecture, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political resilience.

Barnes' award-winning research and design practice, Studio Barnes, explores the connection between architecture and identity, examining architecture’s social and political agency through historical research and design speculation. Barnes’ work has been presented and sponsored by numerous respected institutions and organizations, including The Museum of Modern Art NY, San Francisco MoMA, LACMA, Chicago Architecture Biennial, MAS Context, The Graham Foundation, Design Miami/, and The National Museum of African American History. He is the receiver of the 2021 Rome Prize in Architecture, the 2021 Harvard Wheelwright Prize, the 2021 Architectural League Prize, and an inaugural grant from Theaster Gates and Prada’s Dorchester Industries Experimental Design Lab.

Ultimately, Rock | Roll pays homage to the deep roots and essential community of Miami. Barnes credits the many BIPOC communities that Miami is home to and who have played a key role since the city’s early urban and cultural development in helping make the city culturally rich and unified. Celebrate Miami and visit Germane Barnes’ Rock | Roll in the Miami Design District now through Spring 2023.

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