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Design: David Adjaye for Knoll

DESIGNER: DAVID ADJAYE [GHANA] [Image credits: Washington Corona Bronze Coffee Table – Knoll] ‘…unless I truly loved it, there was no point in my doing it’, words that formed part of a pitch that saw London-based architect David Adjaye turn his hand to furniture design, producing his first collection in collaboration with iconic American furniture and fabric brand, Knoll. Currently celebrating 75 years of pioneering design, to mark the occasion Knoll sought to persuade two of the world’s leading architects; British-Ghanaian David Adjaye, and Dutch-born Rem Koolhaus into taking a brief detour from their usual work of redrawing skylines and taking on a spot of product design. […]

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Exhibition: Celebrating Contemporary African Design

Heralded as being the first exhibition of its kind in London, September 14th saw the opening of Graphic Africa a thought-provoking showcase and insight into the emergence of innovative diverse contemporary African design aesthetics and all-round creativity currently sweeping across the Continent. Highlighting that contemporary African design is offering something different and fresh to the international design market, the exhibition has generated something of a media buzz, and the impact of the exhibition not only for visitors but the designers themselves has been good to see.    [Image credit: Dokter and Misses Kassena Server taken by Tapiwa]

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Exhibition: Design Africa

African Design in the City [Image credit: Bangou Collection Lampshades – Julie Kouamo] September has been a good month for design lovers and proved a great month for viewing contemporary African design in person. The earlier part of the month saw London-based textile designer Julie Kouamo exhibit her latest collection of lampshades at Bangou at one of Europe’s biggest trade events, Maison et Objet in Paris. The lampshades are the latest editions to the Bangou collection, which was debuted in January 2013. Meanwhile, the prestigious London Design Festival (LDF), whose core events occurred between the 14th-22nd, brought with it London’s major trade shows and exhibitions, including 100% Design, Tent […]

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Design: Contemporary South African Design at West Elm

West Elm/South African Design [Africa Inspired] West Elm is a Brooklyn based company whose Autumn 2012 collaboration collections see a range of products produced in collaboration with some of South Africa’s leading interior furniture and accessories designers and producers. A recent visit to South Africa saw the company work with fifteen South African design studios, and one from Swaziland to produce a range of products bursting with colour, shape, and texture that will brighten up the interior once the darker days set in. Some of the designers; Imiso, Gone Rural, John Vogel and Wola Nani, I have previously featured on African Daydreams; others are new discoveries […]

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Design: Contemporary Egyptian Furniture

Dalia Sadany [Egypt] Dalia Sadany is an Egyptian architect and interior designer who creates sophisticated, contemporary spaces for her residential and commercial sector clients. Dalia, provides a full service, design, and build solution following the ancient, Master Builder approach to construction, a process that sees the architect retain responsibility for the project from conception to construction to handover.

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Design: Hand Decorated Cabinets Inspired by African Design Elements

Lucas Risé [Africa Inspired] I stumbled upon these amazingly decorated, hand-painted cabinets by Argentinean artist, Lucas Risé. Visually stimulating, the cabinets are a riot of colour, pattern, and texture, with several of the designs drawing inspiration from elements of African design and culture; from basketry to motifs. ‘Somewhere in Africa’, brings together elements of the different countries and regions visited during Lucas’ travels to the Continent; whilst ‘African Whimsical’ pays homage to the traditional neck ornaments worn by women in the Continent’s mid-western regions.

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Jewellery: Shimmering Metals, Sculptural Forms

[Image credit: Choker – Taher Chemirik/Artsy] Fluid, sculptural pieces formed out of shimmering gold and silver metals are defining characteristics of Algerian designer, Taher Chemirik’s striking jewellery pieces, which include bold, oversized cuffs and giant links that form statement chokers. Hailing from a family of designers, Taher describes his upbringing as ‘unconventional’, and cites his sources of inspiration as being his African roots, Oriental sophistication, modern art, and the antiques he collects in Paris’ famed flea markets; the city he now calls home.  

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Design: Updating Design Classics

Wegner Shell Chair I have seen this chair pop up on many a Pinterest board channelling ‘African Style’, and whilst I cannot say whether the upholstery of the chair was inspired by Africa, the use of cowhide is obviously what has made it a favourite selection for many gathering ‘African’ style inspiration.

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Design: Decadent Daybeds

Odds & Ends [Kenya] [Image credits: Funzi Daybed – Odds & Ends]  What can be more decadent than spending the day lounging on a daybed or chaise lounge, especially in warm sunny weather? Daybeds/Chaise Longues are my favourite piece of furniture, and when I had my flat I opted for a daybed/chaise longue footstool combo, rather than the traditional three-piece sofa and armchair set-up; and it proved to be the perfect piece of furniture to unwind after a hard days work. Unfortunately for me, my guests thought so too, and to this day regularly ‘hijack’ my daybed/chaise, not that I am […]

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Design: Tucker Robbins Africa Bed 

Tucker Robbins – Africa bed [Africa Inspired] Recognisable by the slightly raised pillow at one end, and supported by chunky tapered feet, elegant simplicity defines the iconic hardwood beds of the Senufo, of Côte d’Ivoire. Traditionally used for resting throughout the day, the beds are carved from a single plank giving them a solid and sturdy appearance. Inspired by the design, New York-based Tucker Robbins have produced a more contemporary version of the bed, which features a recess to insert a mattress and comes in a single size that is ideal as a daybed, and a double.

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Design: Chic Camping Stools

Global Views – Camp Stools [Africa Inspired] [Image credits: Camp Stools – Global Views] For those who prefer ‘glamping’ to camping, these beautifully crafted camp stools, from US-based home decor wholesaler Global Views, are just the thing to bring a touch of colourful contemporary glamour to the Safari Chic style. Safari Chic is a long-standing classic style that tends to represent African interior style, and whilst I am not against ebony and ivory palettes per se, and not forgetting the must-have staples zebra and leopard prints, I do find the style often needs a bit of a shake-up to bring some […]

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Decor: African Craft and Design Interior Design Inspiration

House & Garden [Africa Inspired]   Flipping through the latest issue of House & Garden UK (February 2013) I came across a design editorial inspired by African craft and design. Co-ordinated by decoration editor, Gaby Deeming, bold bright colours, graphic prints, textures, and handicrafts are combined for a modern take on African interior style. Products used to pull the looks together include leading African designers and producers; beaded cushions from Soboye; Eva Sonaike’s distinctive, signature fabrics in the form of pouffes, cushions, notebooks, upholstered armchairs, as well as lining walls; woven telephone wire bowls in contrasting graphic swirling patterns from Zenzulu; striped black and white beaded animals […]

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Design: Artlantique Gives Discarded Fishing Boats a New Lease of Life

Artlantique [Senegal] [Image credit: Commode Thies – Artlantique] Weathered by the elements, wood salvaged from old or discarded fishing boats is given a new lease of life as contemporary furniture collections, whilst retaining the hallmarks of its former life. Along the coasts of West Africa, fishermen have long been a common sight, making daily trips into the ocean in brightly coloured narrow boats crafted by highly skilled craftsmen; and it is this connection between fishing and carpentry that inspired Artlantique to produce its distinctive and colourful furniture, which design in Spain by Ramón Llonch and handcrafted in Senegal by a team of master craftsmen.

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Design: Upcycled furniture Inspired by Nigerian Parables

Yinka Ilori [Nigeria] [Image credits: Odd One Out chair at D’apostophe – Yinka Ilori] Dismantling discarded pieces of furniture and reassembling to create entirely new designs has resulted in a unique and innovative range of one-off and made to order furniture pieces, created by Yinka Ilori, a London-based furniture designer. Yinka specialises in sustainable design by upcycling discarded and found furniture pieces, and founded his eponymous label in April 2011; fuelled by an interest in finding creative solutions to challenge the unnecessary waste in modern consumer societies in the West, and through the products he recreates works towards helping to affect positive change.

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Design: Adriana Hoyos Africa Collection

Adriana Hoyos [Africa Inspired]   The majestic Serengeti Plains have inspired a contemporary classic range of furniture by US-based designer Adriana Hoyos. Using rich hardwood grains available in a selection of finishes, the aptly titled Africa Collection features the distinctive markings of the giraffe moulded in a striking cutout pattern that is used in chair backrests, headboards, sideboards and table bases. The patterns are accentuated with upholstery materials like leather in neutral or contrasting shades. 

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Design: Iman Deco Woven Patio Furniture

Iman Deco [Africa Inspired] [Image credit: Iman Deco Hoop Chair via MeubleSoLoft] I recently received a request asking for help with finding African or African inspired furniture and interior accessories, in particular, patio furniture and during my research came across the designs of French-based company Iman Deco, whose colourful and skillfully woven product ranges include casual tables, chairs, benches, runners, trays, and handbags. Handcrafted in Togo in partnership with local artisans, Iman Deco was launched in 2000 by Parisian designer Michèle Nexer, who sought to combine contemporary and retro style inspiration with traditional West African weaving techniques. The result was a lightweight range of […]

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Basketry: Madwa Woven Traditions

Madwa [Madagascar / South Africa / Eswatini / Swaziland] [Image credits: Madwa] Inspired by craft and tradition, Madwa is an ethical craft project that works with small groups of master weavers in Madagascar and Swaziland to produce contemporary ranges of woven textiles, homeware, and accessories. Based in South Africa, Madwa harnesses the unique weaving skills of the different cultural groups and regions it works with, and is about the preservation of a unique craft heritage, assisting the weavers with product development and gaining access to international markets. 

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Design: Colonial House Design Inspired by Traditional African Sculpture

Colonial House Design [South Africa] [Image credits: Boma Chair – Colonial House Design] Colonial House Design is an interior and furniture design company based in Cape Town, South Africa; and reflecting on its name and location I was expecting a more traditional Cape Dutch-inspired design aesthetic, but instead found designs that draw on traditional African sculpture and the precision geometry of oriental forms. Colonial House Design was founded by Philip and Nicky Tyers; both of whom cite an eclectic range of design influences ranging from traditional African sculpture to those drawn from travels across Asia and South America.

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Design: St George Gallery Furniture Designs

St George Gallery [Ethiopia]  A renovated a building in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia in the USA is home to the St George Gallery, a place which serves to bring the best in Ethiopian art; painting, craft, textiles, antiques, furniture, interior and personal accessories, to an American audience. St George Gallery USA is owned by Saba Alene, a renowned gallery owner in her home country Ethiopia; who opened Ethiopia’s first art gallery, St George Interior and Art Gallery in Addis Ababa in 1990.

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Design: Liam Mooney Clean, Modern Classic Furniture

Liam Mooney [South Africa] [Image credit: The Crag Chair – Liam Mooney] Using the natural edges of timber to form the backrest serves to transform a simple wooden and steel framed chair into an object of style; and makes each chair produced completely unique. Available in bar, cafe and dining chair specifications, the Crag Chair as it is called, was design by South African industrial designer, Liam Mooney who established his eponymous furniture, lighting and accessories studio in 2006. Based in Cape Town, Liam’s designs feature minimal fuss, just clean simple lines in modern classic shapes that remind me of a Scandinavian […]

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