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Gone Rural Hand Painted African Baskets At Maud Interiors

Just spotted on Maud Interiors, via Pinterest these one-of-a-kind handwoven African baskets from Gone Rural sporting colourful hand painted splashes of paint in a stylistic nod to abstract expressionism. I have previously featured the work of Swazi-based social enterprise, Gone Rural on the site, and the organisation continues to shake up the industry with their innovative approach to contemporary African basketry. [Main image credit: Gone Rural Hand Painted Baskets – Maud Interiors]

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The Adjaye Collection African Inspired Textiles For Knoll Textiles

The Adjaye Collection is a visually stimulating range of African inspired textiles designed by architect, David Adjaye for KnollTextiles. Working in collaboration with Dorothy Cosonas, KnollTextiles Creative Director, the collection is inspired by Africa, blending the influences of the architect’s African heritage with the language of modern textile design. And, through the collection David aim is to challenge the stereotypical images that often define Africa. Presented at the NeoCon commercial interior design trade show in Chicago, the collection corresponds with the recent opening of ‘David Adjaye Selects‘, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum that was curated by David. [Main image credit: The […]

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Global Goods Partners On Design, Sustainability And Making A Difference

Global Goods Partners is a inspirational non-profit social enterprise that was set up by women to help women. Launched in 2005 by Catherine Lieber Shimony and Joan Shifrin, and headquartered in New York, Global Goods Partners works to provide women in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities with the means to earn a sustainable income by providing a platform to promote and sell collaborative collections of their handmade products. The products are sold through the organisation’s website. Atelier Fifty-Five caught up with co-founder Joan Shifrin to find out more about sustainable design and the life-changing work Global Goods Partners is doing. […]

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Swoon Edition Milly Chair x Banke Kuku African Inspired Textiles Collaboration

It appears Swoon Editions is having a thing for African inspired textiles this summer. First there was Eva Sonaike followed a few of weeks later by Julie Kouamo, both of whose limited-edition collaborations sold out by the way. And now the latest collaboration sees the evocative Delta Sola textile from London-based designer Banke Kuku paired with Swoon Editions Milly Chair, and the effect is just stunning. [Main image credit: Milly Chair upholstered in Delta Sola Fabric, by Banke Kuku for Swoon Editions]

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KuDu Redefining The Way We View African Interior Design Style

‘Africa is Beautiful. Africa is Home.’ Two concise, yet perfectly self explanatory statements that define the ethos of KuDu Home, a stylish online interiors boutique that presents contemporary African interior design style in the form of covetable curated collections of rare artifacts, luxurious contemporary furnishings, homeware, and decorative and lifestyle accessories made in Africa. Taking its name from a species of African antelope, renowned for its grace, beauty and stature, KuDu Home is the latest in a new wave of interior retailers redefining the way we view design and creativity from Africa, avoiding the stereotypes, and instead seeking to introduce a […]

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Swoon Editions x Julie Kouamo African Inspired Textiles Collaboration

London-based textile designer Julie Kouamo has become the latest designer to collaborate with luxury online furniture and interiors retailer Swoon Editions. The collaboration sees Swoon Editions oak Gustavian-style Juliette Bench upholstered with Julie’s uplifting African inspired textiles, Nkunti. [Main image credit: Juliette Bench in Nkunti Fabric, Julie Kouamo for Swoon Editions]

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Maki & Mpho Modern Luxury African Design Where Asia Meets Africa

With Father’s Day on the horizon, Sunday 21st June for those who need reminding, I thought it would be apt to introduce a brand that focuses its creative attentions on our menfolk. Maki & Mpho, is a US-based textile brand that ‘celebrates the African renaissance’, by working with African designers to develop modern sophisticated prints for menswear accessories. Defining modern luxury African design the collections include elegant ties, pocket squares and bow ties made from silk twill. [Main image credit: SEVEN – Self-tie Diamond Tip Double-sided Bow Tie – Maki & Mpho]

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Otago Chandeliers Inspired by Dinka Corsets for Nandos

The intricate corsets worn by the Dinka of South Sudan are the inspiration for a bespoke range of African design lighting for a Nandos restaurant in Harrogate, UK. Worn by men, the bright colour coded Dinka corset indicates age, status and wealth within the community, whilst women wear a colourful beaded shawl type collar that also indicates age, status and wealth, read a previous feature I did on the corsets here. The lighting designs were based on the colour and the drape of the beaded strands, resulting in a collection of strikingly sophisticated yet fun lighting in keeping with Nandos’ quirky […]

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Luxury South African Accessories Brand Okapi Launches in London

Luxury South African accessories brand Okapi, celebrated the launch of its first shop in London with a stylish summer soiree. Name after the elusive antelope, Okapi, was founded in 2008 by South African painter Hanneli Rupert and offers a stylish array of luxury artisanal handbags and accessories.  [Main image credit: Okapi London Shop – Okapi]

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African Art: Malian Artist Abdoulaye Konate’s Textile Installations

Abdoulaye Konaté is an award winning Malian artist who produces evocative textile installations that have captivated African art collectors. Inspired by colour, which he sees as a potent conveyor of meaning, Abdoulaye’s vividly hued textiles are created using sewing and appliqué techniques to create pieces that range from strips of fabric in graduating shades through to thought-provoking imagery.  [Main image credit: Abdoulaye Konaté – Detail Couple H, 2014. Mixed media – wood, metal, fabric. 250 x 170 cm (98⅜ x 66⅞ in) Courtesy of the Artist and Blain|Southern Photographer: Christian Gläser, 2015 via widewalls]

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Ancient Tunisian Handicraft Meets Contemporary Swedish Design

The rich colours and detailed patterns of traditional Tunisian handicraft and artistry are blended harmoniously with the clean, minimal aesthetic synonymous with Scandinavian design, to create modern home decor and textiles collections by House of Rym. [Main image credit: Cover Me Up Cushion Cover in Heavenly Honeycomb in Rose – House of Rym]

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Peponi House Modern African Interior Design Style

A kiSwahili word meaning paradise, ideal or idyllic place or state, ‘Peponi’ is the name given to a thoughtfully styled home, whose Kenyan owner’s wanted their living space to reflect this sentiment by creating a sanctuary from the bustling city. A three-story Victorian conversion, located in London’s Notting Hill, Peponi House pays homage to contemporary African interior design style and culture, drawing on the owner’s layered cultural background, travels and memories. Completed in February 2015, Peponi House was designed by Studio [D] Tale, who were commissioned to create a ‘home from home’ experience. Founded by Safia Qureshi and Maxwell Mutanda, […]

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Suri Tribe of Ethiopia Inspire African Home Decor Lighting

  The Surilight is a cascading chandelier that showcases modern African home decor. The Surilight is inspired by classical African craft and adornment, in particular paying homage to the decorative earlobe discs worn by the women of the Suri Tribe in Ethiopia. Choosing from four silhouette frames as a base, the Surilight is a self-assembly system based on a series of interlocking circles and other optional components that allow you to configure and customise the chandelier to suit your style. The components are available in a range of finishes that include, metallics, acrylics and coated steel. In addition to this a […]

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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