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Lives in Architecture: Nigel Coates

Author/EditorCoates, Nigel (Author)
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
ISBN: 9781859469927
Pub Date01/06/2022
BindingPaperback
Pages200
Dimensions (mm)240(h) * 167(w)
A searingly honest, unvarnished personal history of one of the UK's most versatile designers - Nigel Coates. Spanning lost loves and a prolific design career: from Tokyo bars and Liberty to the Body Zone at the Millennium Dome. "It is hard to believe ... that someone whose imagination produces forms as beautiful and strange as Coates will ever stop writing his narrative of ecstatic architecture." Aaron Betsky
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Irreverent and iconoclastic, Nigel Coates has been agitating the architectural scene for over 40 years. In this warm and compelling autobiography, he explores the highs and lows of life at the cutting edge of architecture.

Coates' work collides at the intersection between bodies, sexuality and design. As 'artist-architect' and polymath, he has designed buildings, exhibitions, interiors and products. He is also known for his idiosyncratic and dynamic drawings. From the 1980s onwards he captured the media spotlight, and was as likely to appear in Vogue as the Architectural Review.

His portfolio includes work for leading brands, such as Liberty, Katharine Hamnett and Jasper Conran, and destination clubs and cafes from Istanbul to Tokyo. Buildings include The Wall in Japan, Powerhouse::uk and the Geffrye Museum in London. He designs for many Italian companies such as Fornasetti, GTV and Poltronova, and has produced lively installations for international art institutions and design exhibitions. As Head of Architecture at the Royal College of Art from 1995-2011, he turned the department into a leading international school.

Featuring over 120 images of Coates' most celebrated projects, this memoir is a visual feast for any devotee of contemporary design. It encompasses his childhood in postwar Malvern, student years at the Architectural Association, the founding of radical architectural group NATO, '70s and '80s London club culture and lost loves along the way. This is a searingly honest, unvarnished personal history of one of the UK's most versatile and influential designers.


"It is hard to believe ... that someone whose imagination produces forms as beautiful and strange as Coates will ever stop writing his narrative of ecstatic architecture." Aaron Betsky


Irreverent and iconoclastic, Nigel Coates has been agitating the architectural scene for over 40 years. In this warm and compelling autobiography, he explores the highs and lows of life at the cutting edge of architecture.

Coates' work collides at the intersection between bodies, sexuality and design. As 'artist-architect' and polymath, he has designed buildings, exhibitions, interiors and products. He is also known for his idiosyncratic and dynamic drawings. From the 1980s onwards he captured the media spotlight, and was as likely to appear in Vogue as the Architectural Review.

His portfolio includes work for leading brands, such as Liberty, Katharine Hamnett and Jasper Conran, and destination clubs and cafes from Istanbul to Tokyo. Buildings include The Wall in Japan, Powerhouse::uk and the Geffrye Museum in London. He designs for many Italian companies such as Fornasetti, GTV and Poltronova, and has produced lively installations for international art institutions and design exhibitions. As Head of Architecture at the Royal College of Art from 1995-2011, he turned the department into a leading international school.

Featuring over 120 images of Coates' most celebrated projects, this memoir is a visual feast for any devotee of contemporary design. It encompasses his childhood in postwar Malvern, student years at the Architectural Association, the founding of radical architectural group NATO, '70s and '80s London club culture and lost loves along the way. This is a searingly honest, unvarnished personal history of one of the UK's most versatile and influential designers.


"It is hard to believe ... that someone whose imagination produces forms as beautiful and strange as Coates will ever stop writing his narrative of ecstatic architecture." Aaron Betsky


Nigel Coates is an acclaimed British architect and designer. As director of Branson Coates (1984-2006), he designed buildings, interiors and products internationally. Examples of his work are held in several museum collections, including the V&A in London, FRAC in Orleans and M+ in Hong Kong. He is the author of Guide to Ecstacity (Laurence King, 2003), Collidoscope (Lawrence King, 2004) and Narrative Architecture (Wiley, 2012). Emeritus Professor and former Head of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, he was awarded the RIBA Annie Spink Award in 2012 for his outstanding contribution to architectural education.

Acknowledgements About the author Preface Chapter 1: A turbulent trajectory Chapter 2: Controversy at the Academy Chapter 3: Tuscany via Tokyo Chapter 4: A proper job Chapter 5: Books and design Chapter 6: Home at last References Image credits

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