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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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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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Artist Dozie Kanu Intersecting Art and Design

Dozie Kanu is a Nigerian-American artist and designer who practice intersects art and design. The son of Nigerian immigrant parents Dozie was born in the US, and currently lives and works in Portugal and New York City. These multi-cultural experiences inform his creative expression and the stories he tells through the object he creates. His inspirations draw on the streets and environment where he grew up in Texas, and the traditions of African craftsmanship.

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Hlabisa Bench Blending Craft, Design and Technology

Furniture and product designer Thabisa Mjo has teamed up with Houtlander and master weaver Beauty Ngxongo to create the Hlabisa Bench. A striking object showcasing the best of South African design, craftsmanship, and technique that has become an instant classic. The collaboration came about when the curator of Revelations, a biennale Fine Craft and Creation Fair in Paris, invited Thabisa to participate in the 2019 event.

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Mutapo Ceramics Inspired by Zimbabwe’s Basket Weaving Traditions

Tucked away in Harare’s Miombo Woodland you will find Mutapo, a ceramic studio producing one-of-a-kind collectable crockery. Owned by Zimbabwean ceramicist, Marjorie Wallace, Mutapo has gained international recognition for its intricately decorated porcelain ceramics often coloured with the studio’s signature blue and white glaze. The patterns adorning each product are inspired by the patterns found in Africa’s basket weaving traditions. Marjorie’s love for baskets stems from childhood and her memories of being surrounded by baskets.

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The Stool An African Design Classic

The stool is an African design classic, an iconic example of Africa’s woodcarving traditions. Its iconic shape has, and continues to inspire designers the world over who are drawn to the simplicity of the form. Stools were created for personal, and ceremonial use, whereby elaborately carved and decorated designs were used to signify status, wealth, and prestige. Here’s a look at four designers from across the continent who are taking inspiration from the traditional stool to create elegant furniture collections designed with comforts of modern living in mind.

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7 Designers and Artists Inspired by Scarification

Contemporary African designers and artists inspired by scarification and referencing the ancient African tradition in their work. Scarification is the process of superficially cutting, scratching, etching or burning permanent designs into the skin. This form of body decoration is a practice common to West Africa where for centuries the resultant markings expressed a form of unspoken communication such as rank, tribe, beauty, and strength. Patterns in the form of scars would range from simple markings to those more elaborate and intricate adorning the face, chest, torso arms and legs. Scarification is not for the faint-hearted, undergoing the practice was said […]

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9 Designers Crafting A Well Made In Africa Aesthetic

Atelier Fifty Five spotlights the work of 9 dynamic designers whose innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages is translated into modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And in doing so are upholding the banner of Well Made In Africa. Re-imagining techniques and materials these designers are paying homage to the skill of making things by hand thereby recognising how craft is at the heart of true luxury.

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Design Inspired by the Decorative Forms Of Adinkra Symbols

As I highlighted in a previous editorial on Adinkra symbols are a much-referenced communication system that has endured to present day. The Adinkra symbols designs carry within them centuries of wisdom and are among one of the African continent’s oldest writing systems. The symbols have inspired designers and artists the world over who have drawn on the distinctive graphic shapes to create anything from jewellery to patterned textiles. I introduce 5 contemporary African brands referencing the Adinkra symbols in their designs, and in doing so giving them relevance in a modern day and age.

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Seven Inspiring Modern African Design Collaborations

Collaboration is a powerful thing, the meeting of ideas to create new ones and at times offering up unexpected viewpoints. Collaboration offers those involved a chance to learn, pick up new skills and show off each other’s skills at their best. And in this spirit I have rounded up seven inspiring modern African design collaborations that have come together over the years:

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String Pendant Lamps Inspired by Traditional African Jewellery

Jewellery is one of my great loves, and was the main reason I started this blog. I wanted to use the space as a place to store my finds. So I couldn’t help but be instinctively drawn to a collection of string pendant lamps by South African product designer Candice Lawrence. Inspired by the beaded layers of traditional African jewellery, the African Woven Necklace Lamp Shade features three interconnected circular hoops each punctuated with colourful bands of hand wrapped thread.

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IKEA’S Modern Rituals In Collaboration With African Designers

In a preview of its forthcoming collaboration with African designers IKEA introduces ÖVERALLT a limited edition collection of tableware, textiles, and seating inspired by the modern rituals across all cultures that punctuate everyday life, what we do and use to make us feel at home. The collection was developed by ten designers from seven African countries partnered with IKEA’s team of designers.

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African Furniture Design At Salone del Mobile 2018

Salone del Mobile, the prestigious Italian furniture fair opens its doors today offering visitors the very best in international furniture design concepts. Salone del Mobile is also home to SaloneSatellite an event that spotlights promising young designers under 35 by giving them a platform to connect with manufacturers, buyers and talent scouts. Noted for launching the careers of designers such as Oki Sato of Nendo, this year’s SaloneSatellite theme is Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente and as such is presenting a group of designers representing both regions. Among those representing African design is Jomo Tariku, founder of Jomo […]

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Studio Lani

  Lani Adeoye is the founder of Studio Lani, an award-winning multi-disciplinary product design and interior architecture practice that creates furniture inspired by a modern Africa. Furniture design is inspired by Lani’s West African heritage is a strong feature of her furniture design aesthetic, which blurs the boundaries between design and art. Another characteristic is curved metal handcrafted in Nigeria. 

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IFI Congress and African Design and Culture Festival Nigeria

  Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling dynamic capital plays host to the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF), a four-day cultural extravaganza that is part of a series of activities organised for the International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects (IFI) 28th Biennial Congress. The Congress prepares to welcome over 500 local and international delegates and features architect Sir David Adjaye as a keynote speaker, Kunlé Adeyemi and writer, culture critic, and educator, Carol Becker,

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