Architects, we're all inclined to imagine, like things clean and tidy. Not so. One look inside Mr Adjaye's north London headquarters and you'd be forgiven in thinking you'd stumbled upon the lair of a mad man (and not the Madison Avenue kind). Thousands of pictures, drawings, books, gadgets and general knick-knacks adorn every inch of the award-winning architect's office, providing him with a veritable room-sized mood board. So what goes on inside the headspace and work place of a conceptualist? We decided to find out.

Your designs are so minimal yet your office is so manic. Why do you like it this way?
I think it's just me. I think most architects are generally quite neat. People think that my work is about clean lines, so that's maybe what they expect, but for me, my workspace is about inspiration. It's where I create the world that I want to go into.
Where is your desk from?
I designed the desk and had it made because I like to have it a certain way and, to my knowledge, it doesn't actually exist. I just like to put things all over it so I need something super big and this one is nearly four metres long. For me tables are like still life. It's a landscape where I can put things that I use, models that I'm working with or thinking about, images I love or loved once. It's like a mosaic to me.

ON THE SHELVES

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Where do you find inspiration? Can it be in anything?
It could be absolutely anything at all. Usually I'm very interested in places, so if I'm working on a place I'll have images up of that particular place. Not necessarily the site, but details of the place, the things that trigger ideas about it.
You have thousands of pictures on your wall. Do you add to them every day?
Not every day. This studio has got to the point where it's full, so I don't really add that much to it. It's a little bit historical. There are things from Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Rome, Africa, Thailand and London.
What purpose do all the pictures on the wall serve?
I use them as devices to tell me it's okay to do certain things. If I'm doing something I think is a little bit crazy or a little bit out of my comfort zone I use these things to help me move to where I need to be. I might start looking at a detail within a picture that suddenly becomes important.
What essentials go with you on business trips?
My sketchbooks go everywhere with me. I use standard Portuguese school sketchbooks, after I spent a year working in Portugal. I just love the everydayness of them and the fact they're not precious. My iPad has become another tool I can't do without. I use it mainly for documents and presentations I might be giving.

ON THE DESK

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