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Kudhinda Fabrics Zimbabwe Screen Prints Modern African Textiles

Back home in Harare no school art lesson was complete without a potato carved with a design that would then be printed across paper or fabric in an array of colours. I haven’t done potato-printing in ages, but used to love stamping whatever I could get my hands on, getting caught-up in the rhythmic process of it all. In Zimbabwe’s Shona language ‘Kudhinda’ means to stamp or imprint, and is the name given to locally based textile brand that produces distinctive colourful modern African textiles that have been carefully hand-printed using potato prints, screen-printed and hand-painted. I first got to […]

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Tunisian Fashion Designer Azzedine Alaïa Parisian Loft

[Image credits: Azzedine Alaïa Apartment Interior –  Alexandre & Emilie, Persona Production via Yatzer] I recently came across a feature into the interior decorating style of Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa, who converted a 300 square metre loft in a traditional 17th century building into three separate apartments. Located in Rue de Moussy, Marais, one of Paris’ most exclusive districts, Azzedine wanted to create a boutique hotel feel giving guests to his home a taste of his style and appreciation for art and design, as well as a feel for Parisian life from his point of view. The apartments are also located close to […]

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Mickaël Kra Lavish Parisienne Meets African Jewellery Design

Whilst on my MA course, in-between perusing the university library shelves for reading material I would often find myself wandering down isles that did not directly relate to my subject area but proved too irresistible to bypass and during one of my wanders stumbled across the book, ‘Mickaël Kra: Jewellery Between Paris Glamour and African Tradition‘; and was introduced to a the Parisienne meets African jewellery design aesthetic of jewellery designer who has been hailed as one of the most important jewellery designers in the world today. [Image credit: Mickaël Kra Jewellery featured in Ghubar Magazine]

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Calabarte Intricate Hand Carved African Gourd Art Lamps

Oh…my…goodness…how incredibly beautiful are these hand carved African guord art lamps and light fittings from Calabarte, a business based in Lodz, Poland that was founded by Przemek, a Polish artist designer. It took a while for the fact that they were made from African gourds to sink in, because I saw the lit versions first; and illuminated they look like glass reminding me of the Art Deco glasswork style. [Image credit: Standing Gourd Lamp XI – Calabarte]

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Muya Ethiopia Inspired By Rich Ethiopian Textiles Heritage

Muya Ethiopia was founded in 2005 by fashion design entrepreneur Sara Abera, whose primary aim was to introduce the rich Ethiopian textiles heritage to the world through a range of interior and fashion textiles that combined the traditional techniques with modern influences. [Image credits: Woven Textiles and Pottery – Muya Ethiopia]

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L.GR. Artisan Italian Sunglasses Inspired By Modern African Cities

Denoting the name of founder Luca Gnecchi Ruscone, the initials L G R represent a range of handcrafted artisan Italian sunglasses inspired by modern African cities. Luca was born in Italy but his family has strong ties to East Africa and it was between these two parts of the world that Luca spent his childhood. His father lives in Kenya, his mother was born in Eritrea which is where his grandfather opened an optical store in the 1930s, selling frames imported from Italy. It was a chance discovery of one of these classically styled frames that inspired Luca to set up his own […]

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Contemporary South African Furniture Design

Growing up we had a deep red rocking horse that for a while was quite overworked…poor thing…if it was not piled high with children then it would be hitched to prams, pushchairs and other sorted toys with wheels to form the head of a train (that inevitably did not move) carrying dolls, teddy bears and the occasional small dog that happened to get in the way…talk about hours of endless fun and runaway imaginations. Bringing back the memories was the Springbuck a contemporary South African furniture design update of the rocking horse, created by Justin Plunkett a Creative Director at a […]

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Fashion Designer Mimi Plange Manolo Blahnik Partnership

[Image credits: top, Manolo Blahnik for Mimi Plange; bottom, Mimi Plange – Spring/Summer 2012] Spring has sprung; record-breaking temperatures and the clocks going forward over the weekend, got me thinking its high time I dusted of my strappy sandals, as well as dreaming of adding a few more to the collection. Being able to create that perfect pair of shoes to accessories that perfect outfit is I suspect a dream for many a budding fashion designer; and is one that was realised by fashion designer Mimi Plange, who partnered with legendary footwear designer Manolo Blahnik to create two pairs of custom-designed shoes to […]

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Miöja Natural And Holistic South African Skin Care

I fell for South African skin care Miöja’s packaging as soon as I saw it; the colours, so intense and gorgeously vibrant makes you take notice. However, the colours as I later found out not only serve to create standout packaging but have a deeper significance in distinguishing and highlighting the specific benefits of each range. Based in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa Miöja was started by Tasha Saha, a practicing Holistic Healer and as a chronic sufferer from eczema sought to create her own natural and holistic skincare range using the plants from her garden, simple ingredients that are not just […]

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Moroccan Interior Design Peacock Pavilions On Elle Decor

Maryam Montague is probably best known as My Marrakech, the inspirational blog she established documenting her life in Marrakech, Morocco running the boutique hotel Peacock Pavilions that is also her home; and which she designed, built and decorated from scratch with her architect husband Chris Redecke. You can take a peek into the Moroccan interior design and African decor accents in Peacocks Pavilions as the home is featured in the April issue of Elle Decor, which celebrates beautifully, decorated homes from around the world as part of their international issue. [Image credit: Peacock Pavilions Guest Bedroom – Simon Upton/Elle Decor]

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Mbare Colourful Contemporary African Art Metal Masks

    A modern take on the ceremonial masks found across the African continent, these colourful contemporary African art  Masks were made by members of the Improved Arts Metal Sculpture Project, a business based in Harare, Zimbabwe that was founded by the Mhankha Brothers in 1986, who upon discovering their artistic talents sought to depict African natural history through their innovative metalwork creations, that are made from old tin cans and other scrap metals gathered from businesses in Harare’s industrial areas.

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Traditional African Art Vintage Yoruba Beaded Chairs

Shabby Chic® refers to objects that have made it through the years, passed through from generation to generation and despite looking a little worn round the edges, exude a familiar comforting feeling cloaked with an air of faded grandeur and elegance but are still well-loved, appreciated for where they have come from and the stories they tell, this is often seen with family heirlooms as well as newer items that have purposely been distressed to achieve the look and feel. Shabby Chic® originated in the 1980s when British designer Rachel Ashwell, used the words to describe her brand of style and interior […]

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Oshiwa Hand Carved African Textile Stamping Blocks 

Oshiwa is a carving workshop based in Namibia. The company creates hand carved African textile stamping blocks for use on fabrics as well as paper. Established in 1994 by by Anita Brandt, the stamps are the creations of Kavango woodcarvers; Paulus Mutunda, Dhumba Joseph, and Joseph Kanwa who originally started out by producing hand-carved photo frames before turning to the textile printing blocks. Meticulously hand-carved the designs are based on whatever the artist feels compelled to carve at that moment, and each stamp bears the name of the carver written in pencil along the side or on the back. [Image credit: […]

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Modern African Food Kitchens Of Africa Cooking Sauces

There is nothing wrong with slow cooking, in fact it can be an enjoyable experience as you mix, stir, season and simmer in anticipation of savouring your culinary efforts. Unfortunately in the face of hectic schedules, reality bites and slow cooking is just not possible night after night with so many other things competing for your time prompting the turn to convenience food. Convenience food has its pros, meals in minutes and it’s cons, a reputation of nasty additives, flavour enhancers and preservatives. However, the availability of pre-prepared foods like sauces can be an introduction to the tastes of other […]

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Armando Cabral Model Turned Men’s Shoe Designer

Today is officially the first day of Spring, a day that is beautifully bright and sunny but still with a crisp freshness in the air, however you can not escape that wonderful sense of renewal; colours seem sharper and there is a lightness to everything. Speaking of colours a range of suede loafers by model turned men’s shoe designer Armando Cabral stylishly capture the essence of spring…aren’t the shades just gorgeous…and they look so soft. [Image credit: Armando Cabral Suede Loafers – Henry Hargreaves]

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Traditional South African Pottery The Nala Potting Dynasty

In the 1980’s Yvonne Chaka Chaka was singing about brewing African beer in the timeless infectious hit Umqombothi, a song that was and still is a regular feature at weddings and parties across Southern Africa and beyond. I remember the accompanying video, one of celebration and saw women carrying their brews in a traditional clay pot. Whether expertly balanced atop the head having been filled with water from the river, or as a vessel fermenting the ‘African Beer’, the bulbous clay pot is an enduring symbol of cultural tradition across the African continent, one that sees potters and ceramicists continue to produce […]

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Decorative Doors Traditional Functional African Art

Fed up after the deafening sound of another slammed door, my sister took her kids to task telling them that when she was a child, also going round slamming doors my dad, also having had enough would tell her ‘…you must treat a door with respect, it lets you out [to achieve and experience things in the world] and it keeps you safe [protecting you from the dangers that can enter]’ wise words indeed and even today as grown adults we still get stern looks from my Dad should we happen to ‘accidentally’ slam a door in his presence. By […]

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Fonderie 47 Transforming Weapons Of War Into Luxury Jewellery

Transforming the tools of destruction into ones of prosperity by using traditional melding techniques, Fonderie 47 reworks the steel components, reshaping it’s value and perceptions into an object of beauty, in the form of rare and very expensive jewellery pieces that are combined with other precious metals like gold. Constructed with mechanical and precision engineering hallmarks of jewellery makers, Philip Crangi and Roland Iten, the designs are quite hard-edged, sculptural and masculine in form.

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Contemporary African Furniture Bamboula Folding Chair

Today I became evermore aware of restaurants bringing their tables outside, heavy winter coats shed in favour of shirtsleeves and being dazzled by a gorgeous creature who wafted by in a cloud of peach tulle and ballet slippers; all signalling the arrival of spring and the promise of a week of rising temperatures. The image of this carved wood and rattan folding chair has been sitting in my desktop for the best part of a year, reminding me of exactly this type of weather, that makes you want to drag your chair outside, put your feet up and laze the […]

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Stephen Burks Man Made Furniture Design In Africa

  Having grown up surrounded by basketry and woven grass products I do feel a deep connection to the tradition; marveling at the patterns and the way the long grass stalks can be transformed into beautiful functional products. So immediately fell in love with the woven light fittings from New York-based industrial designer Stephen Burks. So stunning, so contemporary; I just love the colours and the ingenious designs that celebrate the basket weaving traditions seen across the continent and shows that far from being confined to the past, basketry is continuing to evolve into a contemporary artform. Produced in collaboration with Senegalese basket […]

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