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Amatte Africa’s Finest Blends for Coffee Connoisseurs

The Arabica coffee plant is said to have been discovered in 9th Century Abyssinia, (now Ethiopia) and soon after made its way across the globe via the flourishing trade routes. Coffee is an important of Ethiopian culture, and as Africa’s top producer the crop has economic significance as an industry said to employ around 15 million people. Recognising the impact the coffee industry has on local communities social entrepreneur Amani Kiflemariam founded Amatte with a focus on empowering small-scale female coffee farmers.

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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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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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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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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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Textiles: Take a Trip To Bolé Road

Bolé Road Textiles [Ethiopia] [Image credit: from top left; Indigenous Blooms – Bolé Road Textiles] Over the years of writing my blog I have been privileged to have been given a glimpse into some amazing design brands at the pre-start-up stage; when the brands in question were just concepts taking their first steps into the rewards and challenges of the design journey. And, then seeing them now and just how far they have come is a testament to the creativity, passion, and dedication in seeing their vision through from dream to reality. That is why I am so pleased to finally be able […]

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Decor: Keteme’s Monochrome Interior Inspiration

Keteme [Ethiopia] [Image credit: Cushions and Textile Collections – Keteme] Keteme is a lifestyle home décor brand that offers an inspirational collection of one-of-a-kind designs handcrafted in Africa, namely Ethiopia. Keteme exudes soothing understated elegance and reveres the exclusivity that comes with handmade luxury. Keteme, meaning ‘urban dweller’ in Amharic, draws inspiration from Africa’s rising cities, exploring the ever-evolving notion of contemporary urban living. The company is a celebration of a continent on the rise and through its thoughtfully sourced and designed collections seeks to take its audience on a journey of transforming their living spaces with beautiful products conceived and made in […]

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Accessories: Luxury Leather, Exquisite Craftsmanship

ZAAF®[Ethiopia] [Image credit: Wanza Purse – ZAAF] I was recently introduced to ZAAF® a collection of beautifully crafted leather goods and lifestyle accessories made in Ethiopia. ZAAF was launched just over a year ago by Ethiopian-born, American raised Abai Schulze. As ZAAF’s creative director Abie draws on her multi-cultural upbringing and her Ethiopian heritage, celebrating the local culture and traditions and craftsmanship, reinterpreting them into luxuriously fresh modern designs. [Image credit: Avalo Petite Weekender – ZAAF]   ZAAF is a lifestyle that embraces and encourages indulgence in heritage living… [and] was birthed from a hope that in the course of creating top end products, […]

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Jewellery: La Diosa Statement Jewelry for Modern Goddesses

LA DiOSA [Uganda / Eritrea / Ethiopia]   [Image credit: Kezen Necklace – LA DiOSA] LA DiOSA is a London-based jewellery design company that seeks to empower women, by designing signature statement jewellery, featuring colourful chunky gemstones in celebration of modern Goddesses everywhere. LA DiOSA was founded in 2007 by Ugandan-born Natasha Faith, and Semhal Zemikael born to Ethiopian/Eritrean parents; friends who first met whilst studying Philosophy, and now create their gorgeous designs from a showroom in Hatton Garden, London’s famed jewellery quarter. A combined interest in fashion led the duo to explore the idea of creating and selling their own jewellery. […]

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Food & Drink: Ambessa Teas by Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Ambessa Teas [Ethiopia] [Image credit: Ambessa Teas – Marcus Samuelsson] Amharic for Lion, Ambessa is a new range of specialty teas created by top chef Marcus Samuelsson. Marcus embarked on creating the tea blends whilst writing his recently published memoirs; Yes, Chef. For the people of Ethiopia Ambessa represents pride, strength, and independence; and for Marcus’ Ambessa also represents his travels, experiences, and the everyday journeys that are a part of life.

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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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Textiles: Muya Ethiopia Inspired by Ethiopia’s Rich Textile Heritage

Muya Ethiopia [Ethiopia] [Image credits: Woven Textiles and Pottery – Muya Ethiopia] Muya Ethiopia was founded in 2005 by fashion design entrepreneur Sara Abera, whose primary aim was to introduce Ethiopia’s rich traditional weaving heritage to the world through a range of interior and fashion textiles that combined the traditional techniques with modern influences. Located in Addis Ababa Ethiopia the business brings together Ethiopian weavers and craftsmen retraining them in the production of high-quality products destined for international markets. Muya means ‘talent’ in Ge’ez, Ethiopia’s classical, liturgical language which has been traced back to 5th century BC; and is the language […]

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Textiles: Sabahar Eri Silk and Mulberry Silk Textiles

Sabahar [Ethiopia] [Image credit: Sabahar Naturally Dyed Silks] In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you will find the Sabahar Silk Garden, a place celebrating and promoting the artistry and heritage of Ethiopia’s long-standing weaving traditions. Weaving in Ethiopia dates back to ancient times and all the products produced are woven on traditional looms using age-old techniques, that have been passed down through the generations; however, some of the techniques are in danger of dying out in favour of modern, often imported products. Named after the Queen of Sheba ‘Saba’ and ‘Har’ the Amharic word for silk; Sabahar works with artisans from around the country, […]

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Travel: Exploring the Natural Beauty of Ethiopia With Wild Frontiers

Ethiopia with Wild Frontiers [Ethiopia]  Often receiving more than its fair share of negative press, means for far too many holiday seekers Ethiopia doesn’t immediately spring to mind as an ideal holiday destination, but this year I have read about more and more people choosing it as their holiday destination of choice as they search for a more meaningful way to spend their vacation time. Wild Frontiers is a pioneering, award-winning travel company that specialises in taking small groups of it’s discerning clientele to places that don’t tend to be part of the popular tourist trails and return offering them a unique […]

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Interiors: Fashion Designer Amsale Aberra’s Monochrome Interiors

Amsale Aberra [Ethiopia] [Image source: Amsale Aberra – Loft Interior] If you spent most of your days working with the various shades of a single colour; in this case white and ivory, you could forgive one for assuming that it would be natural to leap at the chance of introducing a splash of colour into other areas of your life, be it dress or living space. Not a theory to be applied to Amsale Aberra, the Ethiopian designer of exquisite bridal gowns, whose New York loft is a free-flowing space defined by a monochromatic colour palette that is predominately white; the […]

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Accessories: Aidya Stylish Clutch Bags

Aiyda [Ethiopia]  Loving these stylish clutch bags by London-based accessories label, Aiyda. Chic and elegant, the ‘Addis’ clutch is made from supple leather and is secured with a long strip of leather that winds around the side of bag, which makes for eye-catching detailing.

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Art: Etiyé Dimma Poulsen’s Mixed-Media Sculptures

Etiyé Dimma Poulsen [Ethiopia] [Image credit: Trois Statuettes – Etiyé Dimma Poulsen] Adorn your walls with these rather intriguing mixed-media sculptures from Ethiopian-born artist, Etiyé Dimma Poulsen. Distinctive forms in bright earthy colours show humanity stripped back to its most basic forms, displaying a frail-like vulnerability in the process.  Etiyé is an artist from a diverse multicultural background; born in Ethiopia, she was adopted by a Danish family living in Tanzania and attended an English school in Kenya before going to Denmark with her family. Later establishing herself as an artist, Etiyé opened a workshop in France and then moved to Belgium […]

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Fashion: Buntu Chic, Colourful Swimwear Made In Africa

Bantu [Côte d’Ivoire / Ethiopia] It was so cold last night one would think we were in the middle of winter! I had rather high hopes for the British summer given the glorious start we had; however lately it’s been a bit hit and miss leaving me to look forward to a holiday in the sun instead. This brings the dilemma of what to wear and trying to pack light, something I’m still trying to master, especially when the ‘just in case I need it’ thought reigns supreme. When it comes to swimwear, Bantu’s chic and colourful pieces would definitely make their […]

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Accessories: Oliberté Footwear Profiled on CNN

Oliberté [Ethiopia / Kenya / Liberia] [Image credit: Oliberté] ‘…we never have and still don’t see an Africa that’s categorised by negative generalisations’ one company’s response to an oft-asked question as to why anyone would ever consider trying to establish and run a successful business in Africa. Well footwear brand Oliberté, the company in question is attempting to do just that and are in good company if some of the inspirational and pioneering African businesses I have shared are anything to go by. Canadian social entrepreneur, Tal Dehtiar established Oliberté two years ago amidst the challenges of finding financial backers willing to […]

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