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Obsidian House Taps into Africa’s Ancestral History and Creativity for Inspired Contemporary Living

The Obsidian House is a pioneering virtual concept home created with the needs of the African American family in mind. Conceived pre-lockdown and developed during the pandemic by the Black Artists + Designers Guild, led by Malene Barnett, Obsidian House is a carefully thought through space that taps into Africa’s ancestral history and creativity for an inspired take on future contemporary living. Obsidian House takes into consideration the physical, health, well-being, emotional, spiritual needs of its occupants and explores the different definitions of what it means to be a family in today’s society.

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Maison Intègre Objects Paying Homage to the Ancestral Heritage of Burkina Faso’s Bronze Lost Wax Techniques

Lost wax is a technique of producing metal objects that dates back thousands of years and is a skill used by artisans in different cultures around the world. The technique has been used in West Africa for centuries contributing to the creation of elaborate bronze, gold, and brass objects for royalty and ceremonial occasions. Inspired by this rich heritage Maison Intègre pays homage to the ancestral heritage of bronze lost wax techniques in Burkina Faso.

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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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Duro Olowu’s Vibrant Patterned Textile Collection For Soane Britain

Fashion designer Duro Olowu has designed a textile collection for furniture brand Soane Britain. The collection sees Olowu’s signature style of colourful clashing patterns meet the furniture maker’s quintessential English sensibility. The collection came about after Olowu posted a picture of the Soane Britain storefront on his Instagram page. Founder Lulu Lytle saw it and reach out, beginning a conversation that uncovered a mutual interest in a love of pattern, deep respect for craftsmanship, and brought forth similar ideas for a textile range.

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Ikoyi Fining Dining Inspired by West African Flavours

London fine dining experiences focusing on African cuisine are few and far between. Enter Ikoyi whose West African inspired flavours have got the critics buzzing. Despite offering dishes such as Jollof Rice and Suya Ikoyi’s founders are keen to stress that the restaurant is not a West African restaurant rather one that uses the ingredients and spices to come up with something new. This approach sees ingredients unfamiliar to European palates combined with local British seasonal produce. The Ikoyi menu is created on a foundation of spices most of which are sourced from West Africa.

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Vibrant West African Textile Inspired Umbrellas

Living in a country where it tends to rain a lot, having an umbrella to hand is essential. On dreary wet days more often than not people are huddled under canopies of dull coloured ones. Spotting a brightly coloured or patterned one can’t help but lift the spirits. When it comes to my umbrella choices I tend to shun the default plain black or grey coloured ones opting for something that is attention grabbing bright in an attempt to boost my spirits and hopefully those around me, and the ID Peters collection is right up my street. Banishing boring is […]

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Khiry Afrofuturistic Luxe Jewellery Inspired by the African Diaspora

Khiry is a US-based line of luxury jewellery inspired by the African diaspora. The brand was created in 2016 by Jameel Mohammed. A college student studying political science at the time Jameel started the company after being told that a true luxury brand could only come from Milan or Paris. So Jameel set out to prove this statement wrong. Having dabbled in accessory design and stints interning at fashion houses including Nicole Miller whilst in high school Jameel used these experiences to launch his label. Using Africa’s rich creative and cultural heritage as his starting point Jameel has translated stories […]

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Graham and Green Chic African Print and Velvet Cocktail Chairs

Currently crushing on these gorgeous Cocktail chairs from UK retailer Graham and Green. The chairs are upholstered in the front with sumptuous jewel-toned velvets in yellow and teal, and each colourway paired with a complementary intricately patterned African print wax textile to the back. The result is classic design with modern appeal. Cocktail chairs are a 1950s mid-century design classic, sought after for their simple yet chic silhouettes. The chairs make great accent pieces in living spaces, and these will be ideal for those looking to incorporate some Afro-chic interior inspiration.

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Lifestyle: M Project by Baobab Collection, Interior Accessories Inspired by Africa

M Project by Baobab Collection [Inspired by Africa] [Image credit: Mena Max 24 Candle -M project by Baobab Collection – Delyss] Belgian interior fragrance brand, Boabab Collection recently launched a new range of scented candles that celebrate exquisite African craftsmanship, natural materials, and invigorating scents. [Image credit: top, Mainty Max 24 Candle; bottom Mena Max 16 Candle –M project by Baobab Collection – Delyss] A limited-edition of five candles in the M Project collection is produced in collaboration with artisans in Madagascar, which sees each candle encased in an elegant woven organic raffia finish that comes in either black and beige or red […]

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Decor: KuDu’s Contemporary African Spring/Summer Style

KuDu Spring/Summer Edit [Image credit: Mungo Itawuli cotton flat-weave bath sheet  – KuDu] Spring has begun bringing with it longer and warmer days, and the swapping of heavy accessories for lighter ones. Interiors and lifestyle retailer KuDu, whom we profiled on Atelier Fifty-Five shortly after their launch, introduces their new Spring/Summer 2016 collection of homeware and lifestyle pieces sourced from the studios of talented designers and artisans from Africa. Perfect for the season ahead, Atelier Fifty-Five adores the refreshingly, modern colour palette.

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Decor: Safari Fusion’s Woven & Stitched 2015-16 Collection

Safari Fusion [Africa Inspired] Loving Safari Fusion’s beautifully styled 2015-16 Lookbook entitled, Woven & Stitched. The colourful, unique and functional collection presents the best in contemporary basketry made in Africa. Woven & Stitched is inspired by Africa’s basket weavers and has brought together a range of grass and fibre baskets that showcase the way classical techniques and ancient traditions have been rejuvenated through the use of modern colour palettes and forms.

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Textiles: Architect David Adjaye Designs Textile Collection inspired by Africa for KnollTextiles

The Adjaye Collection, David Adjaye for Knoll [image credit: The Adjaye Collection, Aswan upholstery by David Adjaye for Knoll] The Adjaye Collection is a visually stimulating range of textiles designed by architect, David Adjaye for KnollTextiles. Working in collaboration with Dorothy Cosonas, KnollTextiles Creative Director, the collection is inspired by Africa, blending the influences of the architect’s African heritage with the language of modern textile design. And, through the collection David aim is to challenge the stereotypical images that often define Africa. Presented at the NeoCon commercial interior design trade show in Chicago, the collection corresponds with the recent opening […]

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Decor: Interiors Boutique KuDu Home Redefining the Way We View African Design

KuDu Home [Africa Inspired] [Image credit: KuDu Home] ‘Africa is Beautiful. Africa is Home.’ Two concise, yet perfectly self explanatory statements that define the ethos of KuDu Home, a stylish online interiors boutique that presents covetable curated collections of rare artifacts, luxurious contemporary furnishings, homeware, and decorative and lifestyle accessories made in Africa. Taking its name from a species of African antelope, renowned for its grace, beauty and stature, KuDu Home is the latest in a new wave of interior retailers redefining the way we view design and creativity from Africa, avoiding the stereotypes, and instead seeking to introduce a […]

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Textiles: Maki & Mpho, Where Asia Meets Africa to Create African Modern Luxury

Maki & Mpho [Africa Inspired] [Image credit: SEVEN – Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie – Maki & Mpho] With Father’s Day on the horizon, Sunday 21st June for those who need reminding, I thought it would be apt to introduce a brand that focuses its creative attention on our menfolk. Maki & Mpho, is a US-based textile brand that ‘celebrates the African renaissance’, by working with African designers to develop modern sophisticated prints for menswear accessories. The collections include elegant ties, pocket squares and bow ties made from silk twill. Founded by Maki Nakata and Mpho Muendane, Maki & […]

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Design: Otago Chandeliers Inspired by Dinka Corsets for Nandos Harrogate

Otago and The Light Corporation for Nandos [Image credit: Maridadi Pendants for Nandos, Harrogate – Otago ©David Lindsay] The intricate corsets worn by the Dinka of South Sudan have been the inspiration for a bespoke range of lighting for a Nandos restaurant in Harrogate, UK. Worn by men, the bright colour coded Dinka corset indicates age, status and wealth within the community, whilst women wear a colourful beaded shawl type collar that also indicates age, status and wealth, read a previous feature I did on the corsets here. The lighting designs were based on the colour and the drape of […]

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Interiors: Modern African Interior Design Style Showcased in Peponi House

Studio [D] Tale – Peponi House [Image credits: Studio [D] Tale, Peponi House Terrace – Sam Churchill Photography] A Kiswahili word meaning paradise, ideal or idyllic place or state, ‘Peponi’ is the name given to a thoughtfully styled home, whose Kenyan owner’s wanted their living space to reflect this sentiment by creating a sanctuary from the bustling city. A three-story Victorian conversion, located in London’s Notting Hill, Peponi House pays homage to contemporary African culture and interior style, drawing on the owner’s layered cultural background, travels and memories. Completed in February 2015, Peponi House was designed by Studio [D] Tale, […]

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