Nigel Coates (architect)
Nigel Coates (March 2, 1949 -) is an English architect, author, and prolific designer of interiors, exhibitions, products, and lighting. He grew up in the town of Malvern, Worcestershire and was educated at Hanley Castle Grammar School before studying at the University of Nottingham (1968–71) and the Architectural Association (1972-4). He formed Branson Coates Architecture with Doug Branson in 1985-2006. He established his own studio of architecture and design in 2006.
He first attracted the attention of the international architecture world in 1984 with the publication of NATO (Narrative Architecture Today) magazine, and was New Labour’s architect of choice in the late 1990s. His work has been compared with that of Tom Dixon and Ron Arad.
His built projects around the world include Caffè Bongo (1986), Noah’s Ark (1988), the Wall (1990) and the Art Silo (1992), all in Japan, and in Britain, the Geffrye Museum extension, Oyster House (both 1998), and the ill-fated National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield (1999) which is now the Sheffield Hallam University students' union. As designer and curator of Powerhouse::uk (1998), an inflatable structure improbably located on Horse Guards, he is associated with the flowering of the arts in late nineties Britain dubbed by Vanity Fair as Cool Britannia.
He has also been responsible for many well known, narrative-based, interior and exhibition designs in the UK and Europe, including the Living Bridges exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts (1996), the British Pavilion at Expo '98 in Lisbon, the Body Zone at London's Millennium Dome, the Jigsaw flagship store on Knightsbridge, Ecstacity in the British Pavilion at the 2000 Venice Architecture Biennale, Mixtacity at Tate Modern, his Hypnerotosphere installation at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale (a collaboration with film maker John Maybury) and the 2009 refurbishment of Middle and Over Wallop restaurants at Glyndebourne. Recent work includes the installation 'Picaresque', part of the exhibition Kama: Sesso e Design at the Triennale di Milano.
Coates’ best known product designs include furniture for Fratelli Boffi, Poltronova, Hitch Mylius and Varaschin, glass and tableware for Alessi, Salviati, Fornasetti and Dartington Crystal, and lighting for Slamp and AV Mazzega. For limited edition pieces he is represented by the Dutch gallery Priveekollektie. Items of his work are displayed in several museums including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, and FRAC.
From 1995 to 2011 he was Professor and Head of the Department of Architecture at the Royal College of Art and in 2011 was made Emeritus Professor. In 2012 Nigel Coates was awarded the RIBA Annie Spink Award in recognition of an outstanding contribution to architectural education. He is currently on the Board of Trustees of The Architecture Foundation and director of Nigel Coates studio and showroom, based in South Kensington.
Rick Poynor, Nigel Coates: The City in Motion, Fourth Estate, 1989
Jonathan Glancey, Body Buildings and City Scapes, Thames & Hudson, 1999
Nigel Coates, Guide to Ecstacity, Laurence King, 2003
Alessandra Orlandi, Interview with Nigel Coates, The Plan 006, 2004
Jenny Dalton, Coates of many Colours, How To Spend It, Financial Times, April 2009
Guido Incerti, Interview with Nigel Coates, Klat magazine 05, Spring 2011
Nigel Coates, Narrative Architecture, Wiley, 2012
- Nigel Coates website
- Portrait of the artist: Nigel Coates, architect interview in The Guardian
- Nigel Coates profile on Architonic