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Marcus Samuelsson Ambessa Includes African Inspired Teas

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. The range also includes a selection of African inspired teas. [Image credit: Ambessa Teas – Marcus Samuelsson]

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Contemporary Beach House South African Interior Design

Inspired by nature, a beach house in South Africa is unique and stylish in its simplicity. The exterior of the building was what caught my attention as the finished appearance is quite unusual. Designed to have low impact on its surroundings, the building features cladding and shutters made from the wood of eucalyptus trees that have been bound together and hand twisted with brass wire. The interior is a showcase of contemporary South African interior design inspiration.

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Egypt Based Artist Gavin Worth Freestanding Wire Sculptures

It took me a heartbeat before I realised that what I was looking at was not in fact large-scale line drawings on a stark white wall, but instead freestanding wire sculptures that look like someone just took a pencil and started sketching in mid air. The evocative, three-dimensional drawings are the work of Egypt based artist Gavin Worth, whom I came across a few days ago courtesy of Aphro Chic.

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Koshie O Colourful African Print Fashion Accessories

Compact and colourful; New York-based fashion label Koshie O’s range of messenger bags make for perfect weekend African print fashion accessories. Just the right size for all your essentials, the Lady Splash Messenger Bag is made with a patchwork of bold and vibrant Ankara prints on the front flap, which is accessorised with a gold metal plated chain and logo detailing. Complementary plain canvas fabric on the back and straps provides contrast and leather detailing on the sides completes the design.

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Julie Kouamo Evocative African Inspired Textile Prints

Julie Kouamo is a French/Cameroonian print textile designer whose bold, evocative fabric and wallpaper designs feature multi-layered patterns, textures and images in a collage like effect. Establishing her eponymous label, Juli launched her debut collection in 2008 creating a stylish, contemporary collection of colourful African inspired textiles with a multitude uses, from; sofa coverings, curtains, cushions, hanging panels more. The fabric designs are complemented by a range of wallpaper. Produced in the UK where Julie is based, all fabrics are hand printed and some hand dyed.

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Universal Fashion Ethiopia Hand Woven Accessories

Seeking a way to combine the three main passions in her life; the human spirit, fashion and social responsibility led medical doctor, Dr Amy Demissew, to set up Universal Fashion Ethiopia, a company which produces a range of personal and interior furnishings that are hand woven in Ethiopia. Amy sees fashion a universal theme in this world, noting that different culture have their own fashion identity uniting people, Amy who was born and raised in Ethiopia, now resides in the Netherlands; and remembers as a child designing and wearing her own creations. [Image credits: Universal Fashion Ethiopia]

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West Elm Contemporary South African Design And Decor

West Elm is a Brooklyn based company whose Autumn 2012 collaboration collections see a range of African design and decor 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 such as Pedersen […]

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Luxury Africa Travel To The Red Pepper House Lamu

The historical island of Lamu off the Kenyan coast is home to The Red Pepper House, a stylish luxury Africa travel boutique hotel that nestles between Neem and Acacia trees, and interestingly not a Red Pepper tree in sight, the owner just liked the name. Situated close to the Old Town, The Red Pepper House brings together influences in the form of African, Arabic, Indian and European; that have all had an impact on Swahili Culture dating back hundreds of years. [Image credit: Dining – The Red Pepper House]

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Iman Deco Patio Furniture Inspired by West African Weaving

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 that reference West African weaving traditions. 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. [Image credit: Iman Deco Hoop Chair via MeubleSoLoft] 

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Jacqueline Kibacha Avant-garde African Inspired Jewellery

A string of approximately 365 crystal beads and a silver clasp in the shape of a heart inspired the name for Tanzanian jewellery designer Jacqueline Kibacha’s handcrafted African inspired jewellery and fashion accessories label. Based in London, her jewellery label Heart 365 Emporium incorporates traditional Maasai beading with the drama of bold designs, colours, and layered textures. [Image credit: Uhuru’s Wings Neckpiece – Heart 365 Emporium]

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Nigerian Batik And Textile Artist Nike Davies Okundaye

Inspired by her great-grandmother, a weaver and Adire textile maker/dyer, Nike Davies Okundaye is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated textile artists and painters, as well as a social entrepreneur and philanthropist whose passion and dedication towards reviving her country’s artistic and cultural heritage is truly inspiring. Traditions are so often passed down from generation to generation in the form of vocational hands-on-training, and this was the case for Nike who received no formal training, instead taking what she learned from her great-grandmother and developing her own skills and style. [Image credit: Reverse Applique Wall Hanging – Nike Centre for Art and Culture]

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Jeanne Habashi Le Caire Egyptian Beauty Skin Care

Ancient Egyptians were among the early pioneers of cosmetology as they continually sought ways to enhance beauty, and preserve youthful appearances in a society where physical appearance was of paramount importance and whose women were fame for their beauty. Plants and natural ingredients were used to create Egyptian beauty skin care products that included moisturisers and anti-wrinkle creams, and over four thousand years later have inspired a premium luxury skin care line; Jeanne Habashi – Le Caire.

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Interior Decor Accessories Handcrafted African Candles

In the mountainous countryside of the Kingdom of Swaziland a disused cowshed in a former dairy was turned into a candlemaking workshop that has become a local tourist attraction as visitors from all over the world stop by to see the production process, and array of unique handcrafted African candles. Whether round or triangular, animal or fruit; carved or hand painted Swazi Candles are created and finished by hand meaning no two will be the same. [Image credits: Swazi Candles]

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Mbare Points Du Jour African Basket Reader Offer

A few months ago I featured a beautifully woven palm dish handcrafted by the Tavie Co-operative in Niger, click here to read. Currently retailing on Mbare, the full African basket dish range incorporates unique details such as silver Touareg discs placed in the centre; as seen in the Coucher De Soleil and Rayon De Soleil styles; whilst other designs feature indigo thread in intense hues, creating a striking contrast against the natural colour of the leaves. One of the dishes that incorporates the indigo thread is the stylish Points Du Jour, whose design sees the thread scattered around at seemingly random points. The placement of the […]

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Ubuhle A New Form Of Contemporary South African Art Beading

Approaching London’s National Art Gallery last year, situated to the immediate left of the entrance was a living painting. An expanse of wall that had been planted with approximately 25 various species, totalling over 8000 plants that resulted in myriad colours of leaves that had been cleverly arranged to blend in and bring to life Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield, with Cypresses on which it was based; and from afar simply looked like a gaint wall mural. The first time I saw it I did a double take, having not realised I was looking at a ‘lot’ of plants; and going […]

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Reader Offer – Bibi Invitations African Style Wedding Invitations

Spotting a gap in the market after an unsuccessful search to find modern African style wedding invitations that showcased her vibrant Nigerian heritage prompted designer Ify Ojo to seriously consider creating her own range and led to the founding of Bibi Invitations; an exquisite range of wedding and special occasion invitations designed to capture the vibrant celebratory spirit of Nigerian, and indeed many African special occasions. The company was officially launched in 2012 by three friends; Ify Ojo and Omena Babalola who are based in Canada, and Chinelo Agazie who is based in the UK. [Image credits: Ifenkili – Bibi Invitations]

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Dar Leone Luxury African Home Decor And Global Style

A gem of an online destination, Dar Leone is dedicated to bringing you the best in globally influenced interior décor products and accessories, including a selection of luxury African home decor accessories. Based in London, Dar Leone was launched in June 2012 by Isatu Funna, a US attorney who is originally from Sierra Leone. For Isatu, Dar Leone is the fulfilment of a long held interest in African interior design; and inspired by global design in general the philosophy of Dar Leone is to offer luxury global traveller style for the home; achieved through a thoughtfully chosen selection of everyday and traditional products sourced from […]

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  • This popular Africanisim beautifully illustrates the pioneering spirit of togethernes. It highlights how working and collaborating with others can propel you to new heights. Building a business rarely happens in isolation. Atelier Fifty Five seeks to to shine the light on African brands, and this includes extending a hand by sharing our knowledge and expertise to help African brands become the best they can be. So let us go together. Sign up to the Atelier Fifty Five Academy mailing list and join a community of ambitious creative business owners dedicated to creating brands that make their audiences sit up and take notice.⁣
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.  #quotes #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #africanproverb #brandstrategy #creativeentrepreneur  #entrepreneur #mycreativebiz  #brandbuilding #africanstartup #africanbusiness #makeithappen
  • Preserving traditional skills the Kayla cushion by Frida 54 highlights the art of Tritik, a process of knotting and sewing that results in a variety of symmetric patterns. Handwoven with 100% cotton from the cotton mills of northern Cameroon the textiles are dyed with handmade dyes using ancestral techniques. [📷 credit: @frida_54 ]
  • Values . Respecting the design [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Infuse your interior style with the colourful elegance of African beaded necklaces courtesy of The African Woven Necklace light shade by @moderngesture. The design features graduating circular hoops each hand wrapped with colourful woven thread bands. Handcrafted in Cape Town, South Africa by designer Candice Lawrence, the lighting is available in the  Atelier Fifty Five shop. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Eight years ago I started a blog as a place to document the interesting things I was discovering with regards to the design and creativity emerging from Africa. From the moment I created my first blog post little did I know where the journey would take me. Fast-forward to present day I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry, but to also have an active role in creating awareness about it.

On this journey, I have seen Africa’s design industry grow from a handful of names from a handful countries to a continent wide-reach. Some names that were just starting out have become internationally respected leaders in their field, whilst behind them, a new generation of names are coming up and claiming their place in the industry.

To say that it is an exciting time for African design and creativity would be a gross understatement! We are in a time of rapid advancement and unbridled creative expression, that is setting the foundations and standards for future generations to build on. And like many other emerging industries in Africa, creativity is opening up opportunities to those who are willing to seize them. And seizing them designers are!

And as Atelier Fifty Five begins a new chapter it is an opportunity for me to renew my commitment to supporting the development of the African design industry and helping those I work with and write about, and work with to fulfill their potential for creating world-class brands. 
I invite you to visit our website to discover more. [Link in bio]

Tapiwa, Founder Atelier Fifty Five
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Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive