Actually you know him from James Bond movies, however not as an actor, as a designer.
Ken Adam in the war room he designed for Dr Strangelove
Sketches of the same war room
Sir Ken Adam was born in Berlin in 1921. Then years passed, young Adam was attending the Berlin French school. But these years were the most difficult ones for Berlin, because of the Nazi party. They came to power and thus Adam family fled to Britain in 1934, where 13-year-old Ken went to St Paul’s school in London, then University College London. He met there with Vincent Korda, the Hungarian-born art director, who encouraged him to study at the Bartlett School of Architecture, with the intention of entering the film business.
Even if moving in Britain and meeting with Korda were huge spots on his path, “My background as a boy growing up in Berlin with architects like Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn obviously had some influence on me,” Adam says. “I was fascinated by shapes and light and shade and big surfaces from an early age.”
As far as I am concerned, he started to think like an architect involuntarily since his childhood.
I met him in 2014, Berlin at Deutsche Kinemathek, film museum. That meeting was not face to face unfortunately.
The museum has 3 or 4 floors, and one of them is separated for Sir Ken Adam , full of his drawings, models and movie scenes. Impossible to resist. If you haven’t visited yet, please just go to Berlin to widen your imagination, your way of design. At last but not least, if you are an architect who is looking for other paths to go in architecture, I suggest you to research Sir Ken Adam deeply, to understand his thoughts and methods. Maybe you will find the hidden place in your imagination.
Ken Adam as seen in a video installation made for the “Bigger Than Life” exhibition (Installation by Boris Hars-Tschachotin, photo: Andreas-Michael Velten, 2014)