Creative Mind: Germane Barnes
The founder of Miami firm Studio Barnes, the Chicago native jumps back and forth between furniture, installation, and architecture in his dynamic practice
Despite formally training as an architect, Germane Barnes founded his Miami firm, Studio Barnes, free of the rigid definitions often associated with the field. “My work is rooted in people, stories, and narrative,” he explains. “I’m more of an architectural anthropologist than a designer.” The unorthodox approach is clearly working: In 2021, the Chicago native—whose practice jumps back and forth between furniture, installation, and architecture—was awarded the coveted Rome Prize for architecture in recognition of his multifaceted style exploring the history of race and identity.
Local flavor: Selected to create the Miami Design District’s annual neighborhood commission during the most recent Design Miami/, Barnes presented Rock|Roll, an installation of colorful seating capsules, wind chimes, and a massive disco ball. “The idea was to tell the story of Carnival in a new and exciting way that was inclusive of people that visit and respected the heritage of people who brought it here from Trinidad, Jamaica, and South America,” he says.
“My work is rooted in people, stories, and narrative. I’m more of an architectural anthropologist than a designer”germane barnes
A greater good: Barnes is working on a project with Thrive, a nonprofit in Delray Beach, Florida, that supports the development of infrastructure and resources in a historically Black community. He also serves as an associate professor at the University of Miami School of Architecture. “The thing I find so surprising about the next generation is that they are far braver than my generation and those before me.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.