British architect and designer Nigel Coates was born in Malvern in 1949 and trained at Nottingham University and the Architectural Association in London. In 1983, he founded the experimental NATO (Narrative Architecture Today) design group with an associated magazine bearing the same name. Two years later, with Doug Branson, he set up Branson Coates Architecture, a London-based architectural practise active until 2006. Coates' best-known projects include the Metropole Restaurant (1985) and Café Bongo Park (1986) in Tokyo; Noah's Ark (1988) in Sapporo; the Katharine Hamnett shop in Sloane Street (1988) and the Jigsaw shop in Knightsbridge (1992). In 2006 Coates set up his own design and architecture office to develop projects "from the city to the cupboard", focusing on the redevelopment of existing buildings. Among his most important projects is the Hoxton Hotel in London, for which he developed the branding strategy and interior masterplan, and the Wallop restaurant at the Glyndebourne Opera.
From 1995 to 2011, Coates was Head of the Department of Architecture at the Royal College of Art, where he is currently an Emeritus Professor. He has published numerous books - including Guide to Ecstacity (Laurence King, 2003), Collidoscope (Laurence King, 2004) and Narrative Architecture (Wiley, 2012). In 2012, he was awarded the Annie Spink Award for his outstanding contribution to architectural education.
Nigel Coates collaborates as a designer with Ceramica Bardelli, Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, Fornasetti, Fratelli Boffi, Glamora, L'Abbate, Poltronova, Richard Ginori, Slamp, Terzani and Varaschin, shaping objects that are often inspired by anthropomorphic forms. Coates believes that "all architecture and furnishings are modelled around the human body and how it perceives the world", with sensuality playing a fundamental role in the design process. Emblematic of his approach is the Baroccabilly collection, a family of ten pieces consisting of limited edition furniture and lamps made in collaboration with Poltronova, blending an airy sense of the baroque with the rebellious spirit of rockabilly music culture.
For Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, Coates designed the upholstered LEHNSTUHL armchair, a lounge chair with a steam-bent beechwood frame and a Vienna straw seat and back, also available in an upholstered version. For Fratelli Boffi, he designed the curved Back to Back sofa, the Plum velvet armchair, the Gattona pony skin armchair and the Scoubidou family of tables. For l'Abbate, he created the voluptuous Bump armchair. He was Slamp's Art Director from 2008 to 2010, designing several families of lamps, including the spectacular Medusa, Lillibet, Ginetta and Fiorella.
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