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S3 Ep 7: Behind The Design Season 3 Wrap Up and Reflections

You are listening to Behind the Design episode #7 the Studio Lessons. Which brings us to the end of season 3. I want to thank all of my guests for taking the time to chat especially during the circumstances we currently find ourselves in to give us a behind the scenes look into their design journeys. They like most of us have experienced the upheaval and uncertainty of navigating their way through a pandemic and having to continually adapt as the world finds its way towards some sense of stability. And while we can never be sure about what tomorrow […]

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S3 Ep 6 Using Fashion to Heal, Empower Women to be Bold and the Importance of Telling Our Own Stories with Mariatu Turay-Akar

In this episode, I chat with Mariatu Turay-Akar. Mariatu is the founder of Gitas Portal a London-based mid-luxury fashion brand that uses vibrant African wax cloth textiles to celebrate diversity in culture. For Mariatu wearing colour is all about having the freedom to express yourself, and her company has a particular focus on inspiring and empowering women to make bold, winning choices in their lives, and to not be afraid to tell their stories. We go all out to inspire and empower women. – Mariatu Turay-Akar Starting Gitas Portal was an organic process. Born in the UK Mariatu grew up […]

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Handmade Terracotta Pottery by Osa

The instability of life on the road led former punk rock musician Osa Atoe to seek an alternative creative outlet. Pottery was something that had always been at the back of her mind so one day she signed up for classes and was hooked setting up her business Pottery by Osa in 2015 from her kitchen. Initially running her business part-time while working as an after-school art teacher Osa has since transitioned into working in it full-time from her dedicated studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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S3 Ep 5 Diversity in African Creativity, Underrepresentation in Design, and Being Good Enough to Interpret Our Own Culture with Jomo Tariku

In this episode, I chat with Ethiopian / American artist and furniture designer, Jomo Tariku. Through his company Jomo Furniture Jomo creates furniture pieces inspired by classical African design icons, reinterpreting the forms for modern living. Born in Kenya, raised in Ethiopia, and now living in the US Jomo’s interest in product design began while at University where choosing to do a thesis on modern African furniture design lead to his questioning why it was so hard to find modern African furniture design. Research would reveal the same old tired stereotypes and he knew African design could be so much […]

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Luxurious Tasselled Silk Masquerade Clutch Collection by Textile Designer Banke Kuku

Landing on Banke Kuku’s gorgeous website is like entering a tropical paradise. The vibrant colours, the patterns, the textures are just mesmerising. Honing in on her Masquerade Collection of tasselled clutch bags Banke has taken her brand’s signature silk prints and woven together strips of the fabrics to form the bags, which are then finished off with a playful complementary string of tassels.

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S3 Ep4 Designing with Meaning, Referencing African Wisdom and Championing Sub-Saharan African Design with Chrissa Amuah

In this episode, I chat with textile designer Chrissa Amuah. Chrissa is a textile designer and the founder of AMWA Designs a London-based brand of handmade textiles and print designs for the home. She is also the founder of Africa by Design a platform bringing together and creating opportunities for African designers. Of Ghanaian heritage, Chrissa’s sees design not only as a way of connecting to her heritage but also as a means to help the continent to realign, re-navigate its future. And harnessing the power of design to bring about great change. It is this passion that led to […]

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Moyi Magazine Issue 5 Celebrates Colour-Filled Homes

The latest edition of Moyi Magazine is out, and firstly what a stunning cover! Apt for our times the colourful cover features artist and activist Malene Barnett founder of Malene B Studio and Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADGuild). This issue celebrates the colour-filled homes of Malene in New York and textile designer Eva Sonaike in London. As a contributing editor for Moyi magazine, I had the pleasure of directing the photoshoot for Eva’s gorgeous, colour and plant-filled home.

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S3 Ep 3 Showcasing Creative Heritage Through a Contemporary Lens with Lani Adeoye

In this episode, I chat with award-winning sculptural lighting and product designer and design strategist. Lani is the founder of Studio Lani. For Lani coming to design was a very organic process one which saw her leaving behind a career as a management consultant. At the time she was living and working in Canada, and a redesign of the offices where she was working opened her up to the possibilities of design to transform the way we interact with spaces. She started attending local design shows to learn more about the industry and soon left Canada for the US to […]

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Modern Organic Hardwood Furniture Design by Lambert Shumbusho

Lambert Shumbusho is a designer/artist who transforms pieces of discarded, damaged and found hardwoods into functional works of art. Having cultivated a modern organic design style Lambert lets the unique characteristic of the wood dictate what it will become, working with the splits, holes, cracks, and natural textures to reveal the inner beauty of each piece.

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S3 Ep 2 Honouring your Gift and Carrying on the Traditions of his Ancestors with Andile Dyalvane

In this episode, I chat with clay healer and ceramic artist Andile Dyalvane. Andile is the co-founder of Imiso a high-end brand of bespoke, conversational, and collectibles ceramics. Andile is recognised among the worlds leading ceramicists shaping the future of ceramics. In our conversation, he takes through the journey of where it all began in Ngobozana the village in the Eastern Cape where he grew up.

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Amatte Africa’s Finest Blends for Coffee Connoisseurs

The Arabica coffee plant is said to have been discovered in 9th Century Abyssinia, (now Ethiopia) and soon after made its way across the globe via the flourishing trade routes. Coffee is an important of Ethiopian culture, and as Africa’s top producer the crop has economic significance as an industry said to employ around 15 million people. Recognising the impact the coffee industry has on local communities social entrepreneur Amani Kiflemariam founded Amatte with a focus on empowering small-scale female coffee farmers.

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Le Sidi Boutique Hotel A Serene Sanctuary on Egypt’s North Coast

Tucked away in Hacienda Bay on the shores of Egypt’s North Coast you will find the exclusive boutique hotel, Le Sidi, a serene sanctuary with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Inspired by the North African and Mediterranean cultures of its setting Le Sidi offers its guests a journey into past and present. The word’ Sidi’ meaning ‘master’ was an important title in the 14th and 15th centuries bestowed on the region’s connoisseurs who created and built the new civilisations around the Mediterranean. By using the title Le Sidi seeks to revive Egypt’s rich, legendary cultural heritage referencing the architectural […]

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Omi Woods Jewellery Contemporary Heirlooms Honouring Africa and its Diaspora

I have recently been introduced to Omi Woods, an exquisite collection of jewellery that celebrates our connections to Africa and its diaspora. Founded by Ashley Alexis McFarlane Omi Woods pays tribute to her Jamaican-Maroon and Ashanti heritage. The company takes its name from ‘omi’ meaning ‘water’ in Yoruba and the ‘wood’ references Xaymaca’, the indigenous Taino word for Jamaica which means ‘land of wood and water’. 

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Woodturner Darren Appiagyei Revealing the Natural Beauty of Wood

The first thing I thought when I some of these vessels was that they are ceramics. The organic sculptural quality of the forms and the textured surface patterns display the qualities of clay. The vessels in fact are made from wood, hand-turned in a process that retains and reveals the unique characteristics of each piece used. The vessels are the creation of Darren Appiagyei a self-taught wood-turner and founder of In The Grain.

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Well Made in Kenya Furniture and Interior Accessories by Workshop Nairobi

Mid-Century Modern meets African print and traditional textiles in the furniture and interior accessories collections by Workshop Nairobi. A social enterprise based in Kenya’s bustling capital city Workshop Nairobi was founded in 2015 with a mission to contribute to the country’s furniture industry by connecting local artisans and furniture manufacturers and giving them the means to design, develop and craft their products.

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Chic Contemporary Batik Cushion Collection by Tonga Textiles

I am loving this chic collection of contemporary batik cushions on Mbare, whom I have featured previously. Created by Tonga Textiles a Zimbabwean textile company the collection features stylized geometric shapes and patterns in a modern colour palette. Created from 100% cotton the designs are produced using a resist painted dye technique. Sadza* is used to hand paint the patterns on the fabric, which is left to dry. Once dry paint is applied and then the fabric is baked in an oven to fix the colours. Once dried the sadza is removed revealing the finished textiles. The mix and match […]

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