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Africa By Design Inaugural Exhibition Launches In Ghana

  Exhibitions focusing on design from Africa continue to abound, with more countries outside the continent holding dedicated showcases. Whilst this is great to see, it is also important that the African continent also hold its own showcases to highlight the growing value of design to local audiences. One such initiative is Africa by Design in Ghana, which launched its inaugural self-titled exhibition presenting the work of 22 emerging and established African designers representing 6 countries from sub-Saharan Africa – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.   [Main Image credit: Master Kente and Ewe Weaver, Bob Gandy – […]

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Exhibition: Contemporary African Furniture Design on Display at Dubai Design Week

Jomo Furniture   [Image credit: Birth Chair II – Jomo Furniture] Dubai Design Week opens today and among the many events and works being showcased is The Birth Chair II by Ethiopian-American furniture design, Jomo Tariku. The Birth Chair II is inspired by African birthing chairs which are still being used in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa and are also being incorporated in mainstream design as decorative pieces. The Birth Chair II is crafted from a single bent piece with clean lines for the seat and a sliding backrest with artistic carvings in the front and back. The idea behind Jomo’s design is to […]

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Design: Designer Ifeanyi Oganwu and Artist Pheobe Boswell Collaborate with Toghal Textiles

Dotted around the lounge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair was a collection of colourful, contemporary seating by product designer Ifeanyi Oganwu, African inspired textiles design brand Toghal and jewellery designer Artist Phoebe Boswell. Ifeanyi was approached by Dayo Forster, Toghal’s founder to create a seating structure on which to present their cylindrical bolster cushions.

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Design: Mimi Plange Channels Classic West African Inspiration For Roche Bobois

[Image credit: Mimi Plange x Roche Bobois Asante Doll Army Ice Blue] Fashion designer Mimi Plange has collaborated with high-end French furniture design company Roche Bobois on a limited edition furniture collection upholstered in Mimi Plange textile designs that references her West African design culture and heritage. The Roche Bobois collection is centred around one of the furniture house’s iconic furniture pieces, the modular Mah Jong Sofa that was designed in 1971 by German artist Hans Hopfer, and has since been dressed by some of the biggest names in fashion from the late Sonia Rykiel to Jean-Paul Gaultier. The collaboration features […]

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Drink: YSWARA Unveils A Tranquil Tearoom To Savour Precious African Teas

There is nothing I love more than a good cup of tea, the stronger the better. Anytime is teatime as far as I am concerned, so you can only imagine what I think about those who take their tea as seriously as I do. Like YSWARA for instance, the luxury tea brand championing made in Africa, who are reviving the ceremony of ancient African tea-drinking rituals with its offering of specially blended teas and accompanying accessories. And now you can immerse yourself fully in the YSWARA brand experience with the launch of their flagship tearoom and store in Johannesburg.

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Exhibition: African Design at the London Design Biennale 2016

London Design Biennale [Design] [Image credits: Porky Hefer, London Design Biennale 2016 – Tapiwa Matsinde] International design season continues, yesterday I attended the press preview of the inaugural London Design Biennale which is being held at London’s prestigious Somerset House from today the 7th-27th September. The Biennale bringing together work and conceptual ideas from 37 nations exploring the theme Utopia, which coincides with Somerset House’s UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, which marks the 500th anniversary of the publication of Thomas More’s text, Utopia – a work of fiction and political philosophy that More published in 1516 in […]

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Design: Mvelo Desk by South African Designer Siyanda Mbele

Siyanda Mbele [South Africa] [Image credit: Mvelo Desk by Siyanda Mbele – Michelle Reynolds] Emerging South African designer Siyanda Mbele continues to challenge the perceptions of contemporary African furniture design as he introduces his latest design, the Mvelo Desk. An exploration of modern working life the Mvelo Desk references the way people are seemingly ‘married’ to their careers, spending long periods sitting at their desks.

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Events: Chic Afrique Interior Design Inspiration at 100% Design South Africa

100% Design South Africa [South Africa] [Image credit: Picture Africa – 100% Design SA] August heralds the start of the global design exhibition season, which runs for several months. In Johannesburg 100% Design South Africa, billed as the go-to interior design show for all things African design will run from the 5th-9th August. Now in its third year 100% Design South Africa will channel continental African cool with its abundance of contemporary ‘Chic Afrique’ content.

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Exhibition: Creative Africa Art And Design Comes To Philadelphia

Africa’s creativity is certainly capturing global attention, with seemingly every major city around the world holding or is planning to hold an exhibition dedicated to exploring and showcasing African creativity. In May, Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, saw the opening of  Creative Africa, a new major exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that celebrates African art and design, and runs from May 14, 2016 – September 25, 2016. Creative Africa presents the work of visionary artists throughout Africa and is made up of a series of five individual exhibitions each exploring a distinct theme ranging from contemporary photography, fashion, and […]

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Design: Egyptian Furniture and Product Design Studio Turning Plastic Bags into Eco-Friendly Materials

Reform Studio [Egypt] [Image credit: Ahwa Collection – Reform Studio] ​Reform Studio is an Egyptian furniture and product studio born out of a belief that design can help address challenging social issues, namely the problem of accumulating waste in Egypt. Reform Studio was founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem who along with design researcher Dina Amin started out by experimenting with various solutions and products to tackle the issue, and ended up creating Plastex, an award-winning eco-material made by weaving discarded plastic bags and threads.

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Design: The Aga Concept African Inspired Cooking Utensils And Accessories

The newsletter of textile designer Eva Sonaike introduced me to a stylish range of African inspired cooking utensils by The Aga Concept, a design and lifestyle brand that is inspired by the culture and everyday living in Africa. For a lot of Zimbabweans living abroad, and most likely for a lot of Africans in general, cooking traditional food is simply not the authentic experience we crave without the traditional utensils from home, usually brought back on every trip, because buying and using that wooden spoon or pestle and mortar from your local store is somehow just not the same. Our […]

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Interiors: Nando’s Central Kitchen Brings Together the Best of South African Design

Nando’s Central Kitchen Revamp [South Africa] South African restaurant chain Nando’s unveiled a revamped interior for their Central Kitchen office space in Johannesburg. As the place where the Nando’s story began Central Kitchen is the heart of Nando’s and for its update the company set out to create an interior that celebrates the best of South African design, and brought in design curator Tracy Lynch to co-ordinate the project.

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Events: Celebrating Ethiopian Contemporary Design and Creative Cultures

Design Week Addis Ababa [Ethiopia]​ [Image credits: Design Week Addis Ababa] Design Week Addis Ababa (DWAA) is the latest edition to Africa’s wider creative calendar. The annual event launches this weekend – 12-13 December –  at the Mosaic Hotel near Bole Medhanealem, Addis Ababa. DWAA is the initiative of creative director Metasebia Yoseph who seeks to shine the spotlight on Ethiopia’s contemporary creative talent, from technology, fashion and textiles, food and gastronomy, architecture, industrial design, interiors, graphic design, and art.

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Event: Discussing Contemporary African Design and Craft at Open Design, Cape Town

Bibliophilia Open Design Book Boutique at Open Design Festival [South Africa] [Image credit: Invitation to Open Design book Boutique Discussion] Join myself and South African author, Elbe Coetsee on Tuesday 18th August 2015 as we discuss contemporary African design, craft and our recent publications, Craft Art in South Africa (Jonathan Ball) and Contemporary Design Africa (Thames & Hudson) respectively. Elbé will be there in person to answer questions, and I will be joining in over Skype from London. The event is part of The Open Design Book Boutique at the Open Design Cape Town Festival. More details to follow. Details:Tuesday, […]

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Design: Hand-Woven Lighting Inspired by Traditional Ethiopian Basket Weaving

The Abyssinia Lamp by PET LAMP and Salem’s Ethiopia [Ethiopia] [Image credit: Abyssinia Single Lamps – PET Lamp] The Abyssinia Lamp is a collection of colourful handwoven lighting inspired by the techniques and visual languages of traditional Ethiopian basket weaving. The collection was designed and produced by PET Lamp in a joint venture with a local craft workshop and retailer, Salem’s Ethiopia. Produced by highly skilled artisans in Addis Abba the main feature of the lighting collection are the striking woven lampshades, which draw on a diverse range of local cultural patterns, infused with bold colour palettes rendered in heavy, […]

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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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