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Africa Design Award Celebrating Contemporary Design in Africa

The inaugural Africa Design Award prize ceremony was held on the 25th May in Libreville, Gabon, as part of the prestigious New York Forum Africa 2014 event. Founded by award-winning Moroccan creator, designer and architect Hicham Lahlou, the Africa Design Award is a visionary initiative to celebrate and fly the flag for contemporary design and innovation across the Continent in all its forms. [Image credit: Africa Design Award Logo – Africa Design Award]

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Contemporary African Architecture Designs For Growing African Cities

With the world’s attention on the schoolgirl abductions in Chibok, Nigeria, the right for all to an education has once again been brought to the forefront of global consciousness. It was therefore quite touching to see the Makoko Floating School Project, designed by Architect, Design and Urbanism practice, NLÉ, nominated for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year Award 2014 in the architecture category. Although it did not win, the Makoko Floating School Project has been heralded as one of the standout projects from the list of nominees, a reflection of NLÉs commitment to providing contemporary African architecture design solutions that respond […]

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Toghal African Textiles Reimagined For Home Decor Accessories

Yesterday I visited Clerkenwell Design Week, and spent a few leisurely hours absorbed in the world of cutting-edge contemporary design and decor. There I met Toghal, a new textile brand inspired by African textiles drawing on the continent’s rich textile heritage. Toghal was started in December 2013 by friends Dayo and Marta. Dayo, who is originally from the Gambia, and Marta, from the Czech Republic, first met whilst both living in Kenya and now both reside in the UK, bringing with them a love for African textile’s and the continent’s traditional design and craft cultures. [Image credit: Table Napkins – Toghal]

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Stylish Heels MO SAÏQUE Luxury Handcrafted Footwear

Afua Dabanka is a woman after my own heart, she just loves her some shoes, with the difference being that whilst I just drool over whatever fabulousness comes my way, she gets to design and make them under her luxury handcrafted footwear label MO SAÏQUE. A banker turned footwear designer, Afua was born in Germany to Ghanaian parents and now resides in London, where MO SAÏQUE is based. [Images Credits: Hakuun, Miami Beat Collection – MO SAÏQUE]

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Shea Mooti Organic Baby Skin Care Products

[Image credit: Pampered Baby Sleep Kit, Gift Set – Shea Mooti] Based in London, Shea Mooti founder and former nurse, Violet Reid started making her own baby skin care products to treat the dry eczema-prone skin of her newborn son. Having found that baby skin care products, even if labeled natural and organic, often made her son’s skin condition worse, and Violet realised that the only way to ensure the products she used were pure was to make them herself. Violet enrolled in a natural soap-making course in 2007, where she learnt about the effects of certain ingredients; and more […]

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South African Textiles Colourful Cushions Sustainable Design

Bold, colourful geometric patterns are hand embroidered in wool onto recycled maize meal sacks to form a range of modern South African textiles in the form of cushions by Africa!Ignite. The technique was created by Mma Betina Khumalo, who started embroidering the maize meal sacks as a way of passing time. A highly skilled craftswoman, MmaKhumalo learnt craftwork techniques like beading and embroidery from her mother, and now works closely with her own daughter passing the techniques on. [Image credit: Africa!Ignite, Langezela Cushions – Design Indaba]

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Ocean Sole Recycled Animal Sculptures From Flipflops

A summer staple rubber flip flops are more often than not cheap, cheerful and therefore readily disposable. In East Africa thousands of discarded flip flops are washed up onto the beaches, littering the beautiful coastline, and as a result have a detrimental effect on the local wildlife, eco systems and eventually people, as toxins from the harmful plastics make their way into water systems, and bits of plastic get eaten by sea creatures such as turtles. This promoted Ocean Sole to do something about it. [Main image Credit: Ocean Sole Giraffe Sculptures – Danny Seo/Lonny]

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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