Observations: Asif Khan has caught the eye of London's Design Museum

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The Independent Culture

The architect as designer

When it comes to the world of design, architect Asif Khan likes to make things happen. Whether it's producing a high-tech chair for last year's Milan Salone Satellite out of a material that's never been used for furniture before, approaching a landmark East London church with an innovative idea to recreate their missing spire, or cleverly finding a way around floor-size restrictions at the West Beach Cafe in Littlehampton.

Now, only two years after setting up his practice, Khan's multi-disciplined way of working has caught the eye of London's Design Museum, where he has been chosen as one of five designers in residence. He's the only architect on the list, not just this year, but ever. "I've been trying to prove myself as both a designer and an architect and show that I can work in both fields. Now it's like I've been given an enormous endorsement as both," explains east-London-based Khan. For his part in the group exhibition, which will be on display in a glass tank outside the museum from 27 January, he's producing Harvest, a collection of neglected greenery and weeds that he has turned into lighting and furniture.

The beauty of Khan's work is that it spans so many fields. A collaboration with fashion designer Osman Yousefzada on a swivel-mobile made from mirror-polished stainless steel, which hung above the catwalk entrance for his A/W 2009 show, is currently on display at the Cass Sculpture Foundation in Goodwood, and he's involved in an ongoing project to transform the Pavilion café in London's Victoria Park. "Design is interesting because it covers every part of life. The whole world is your oyster."

www.designmuseum.org; www.sculpture.org.uk/subjectmatter; www.asif-khan.com