Pharrell Williams is no stranger to the design world. He’s also no stranger to making a firm statement in both art and fashion. With the same gusto, Williams has begun plans for a new Youth Center, the Pharrell Williams Youth Center, in his native Virginia Beach. Backed by Kiehl’s, the building – based on a tree house concept – will break ground in 2012. Architect Chad Oppenheim, who met Williams at Art Basel Miami in 2008, is responsible for the building’s design.

Wallpaper* caught up with both men to discuss the project.

What inspired the project?
Pharrell Williams: I wanted to provide people with the same opportunities I got. My teachers didn’t let me go until I had realised my potential. They taught me to fight my way out of a paper bag. Children need guidance and creative discipline and someone to be there when they fall. They also need a safe haven. At the moment, arts organizations across the US are having their funding cut and we can’t let that happen. There’s so little regard for creative skills. Where would we be without design?
Chad Oppenheim: We’re taking matters into our own hands.

Read the full interview here.

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