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Warm, Soulful and Stylish Interiors Set the Tone for The Africa Centre’s New Look

Once a thriving hub, home to cultural pride and the pan-Africanism of the 1960s and 1970s The Africa Centre in London welcomed luminaries from the world of politics, arts, and culture, alongside the general public. But as the 2000s ushered in a new century it became evident that The Africa Centre had lost its spark. Fast forward a couple of tumultuous decades, which included the sale of its beloved Covent Garden home, The Africa Centre is once again reclaiming its place in the heart of the UK’s African community, and the heart of cultural London.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Wishes

Once again the end of the year, and the Christmas holidays are upon us. Having made it through another trying year I want to take the time to say a big, heartfelt thank you to you dear reader for being a part of the Atelier 55 journey. I am looking forward to some rest to recharge in preparation for what the new year will bring. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and wishing you a season of joy and rest. – Tapiwa [Image credits: The image shown belongs to Hadeda. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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Netflix Docuseries Made by Design Highlighting African Creatives

Made by Design, is a docu-series that shines the light on African creativity. Exploring the work of architects, interior and product designers Made by Design seeks to inspire and change the narrative. The series is created by Titi Ogufere, CEO of Essential Media Group in partnership with double Emmy Award winner and global filmmaker, Abiola Matesun founder of Malekfotofilms.

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MADE51, Design-Led Craft for Social Impact

MADE51 is a pioneering initiative that brings together designers with refugees to create and craft products for a global market. Conceived by UNHCR MADE51 is part of the agency’s activities to protect and save lives. Finding themselves in a foreign country craft has become a way of restoring dignity to refugees. Craft helps those who have been displaced to hold onto their culture, giving them a sense of purpose and stability, and to earn an income as they begin the process of rebuilding their shattered lives. Working with some of Africa’s leading design brands such as A A K S, […]

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Weaving Art Objects Promotes High-Quality Made in Senegal Design and Craftsmanship

Throughout her distinguished career, textile designer Aissa Dione has worked to uphold Made in Senegal, by taking traditional know-how and adapting and modernising it to meet global standards. This philosophy extends to designing furniture and objects made in her Dakar workshop in partnership with local artisans. In early 2020 Aissa opened the doors to Weaving Art Objects (WAO), a concept store dedicated to retailing high-quality furniture and interior accessories that continue to showcase the best in local production techniques and creativity.

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Dreamers and Travellers, Macrame Handbags by Vanhu Vamwe

When I interviewed Dr Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri, co-founder of Vanhu Vamwe, she hinted at new projects in the works. Fast-forward more than half a year later Pam has debuted a gorgeous collection of statement handbags, made in Zimbabwe. The collection entitled Dreamers and Travellers, celebrates and modernises local craft techniques, and is characterised by oversized silhouettes, accentuated with long fringe-like tassels, and big knotted details.

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All-Natural, Zero Toxin Eco-Luxury Skin Care Inspired by Africa

Unless we protect it the changing seasons can have harmful effects on the long-term health of our skin. This was the experience of Ms Akosua aka Ms Kosi, a US-based entrepreneur who started creating her own skincare products using shea butter to protect her skin from harsh weather. Born and raised in Ghana shea butter was essential to Ms Kosi’s everyday skincare rituals. Used on her skin from birth to protect it from the sun, when Ms Kosi’s family moved to the UK in her teens she continued to use the butter to protect her skin, this time from the […]

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16/16 an Arty Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Lagos

16/16 is a dynamic space for exchanging ideas. Offering a creative incubator and a boutique hotel, the Lagos-based platform brings together creatives from Nigeria and beyond to share and explore their creativity. The hotel offers 10 individually styled en-suite rooms including the Iamisigo Room, a deluxe king suite designed by the Nigerian creative director and artist Bubu Ogisi.

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Exceptional Art and Design From Africa’s Finest Designers and Makers on Show in Paris

Art and design from some of Africa’s finest designers and makers are on show at the French auction house, Artcurial. Art Exception / Exceptions d’Afrique brings together 45 exceptional craft, design and artworks from 25 artists representing 15 African countries. Curated by Nelly Wandji Exceptions d’Afrique explores and celebrates the heritage and traditions of know-how through timeless materials translated into a contemporary avant-garde look.

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A Showcase of African Design at Somerset House

Postponed from September 2020 The London Design Biennale is now taking place in June 2021 at London’s Somerset House. The Biennale promotes international collaboration and the global role of design with exhibitions and installations that “demonstrate the ambition to create universal solutions to problems which concern us all.” The theme for this showcase is Resonance exploring the ripple effect of ground-breaking design concepts on the way we live, and the choices we make.

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Five | Six Textiles Collaborating to Create Modern Textiles from Traditional Ivorian Patterns

Five | Six Textiles is a collaborative project that creates modern textiles from traditional patterns woven by a collective of masters weavers in Cote d’Ivoire. The idea for the collaboration came about when Dyula weavers from Waraniéné, a popular tourist village located at the base of Mt Korhogo, met textile art specialist, Emma Wingfield who was travelling in the area. 

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iLobola Ceramics Explore an Ancient Southern African Custom

In her debut solo exhibition, entitled iLobola, ceramic artist Zizipho Poswa explores the value and relevance of Lobola an ancient African tradition of bride price. In many Southern African cultures, this price was paid in the form of cows, an animal that is synonymous with wealth. Seen as a way of uniting two families Lobola is an ongoing tradition still practised throughout the region with money replacing the cow. 

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Seku Bi A Charming Boutique Hotel in the Heart of Dakar

Seku Bi is a charming boutique hotel located in the heart of Senegal’s capital city, Dakar. As you step through its doors Seku Bi invites you to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind and turn your gaze towards the Atlantic Ocean. The calming, blue waters provide a mesmerising backdrop to the white-walled property. Seku Bi takes its name from the Wolof word for ‘parrot’ in a nod to the flamboyant birds that inhabit the fragrant Frangipani plants surrounding the buildings. 

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Refixit Crafting Natural Eco-Friendly Sisal Fibre Art Decor

Passing the rich creative knowledge from one generation to another is the mission behind Refixit, a social enterprise crafting natural eco-friendly sisal fibre art decor products. Based in Tanzania Refixit was founded by Leandra Lyimo who pivoted from a career in architecture to focus on her love of design and help provide youth skills development, training, and employment.

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