Press Enter / Return to begin your search.
Dubai Design Week opens today and among the many events and works being showcased is The Birth Chair II, modern African furniture design by Ethiopian/American furniture designer, 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 allow people to use a similar design of backrests as a theme or different variations as a set. The interchangeable functionality of the backrest provides the user to be creative in decorating a room of their choice. The Birth Chair II is a trendsetting idea that Jomo hopes to use as a platform for his dream of bringing modern African furniture design to the mainstream design world.
[Main image credit: Birth Chair II – Jomo Design]

Born in Kenya to Ethiopian parents, Jomo grew up in Ethiopia and studied industrial design in the US where for the last 20 years he has been on a mission to convince the furniture world that African designs deserve a place in the mainstream furniture market. He has been doing this through his different lines of contemporary African furniture including the Birth Chair series. Jomo uses African cultures to inspire his furniture designs.  He says what he loves about African furniture design, is the fact that they serve a dual purpose; to be used as functional and decorative household items. And highlights how in the west people are used to seeing African furniture pieces mainly as decoration but in Africa, out of necessity, they become a functional art. The beauty of “functional art” furniture is what inspires Jomo in his continual creation of new contemporary African furniture design.
[Image credits: Birth Chair II – Jomo Design]
Throughout his furniture and product design career Jomo has designed a series of renowned contemporary African furniture design lines, among them: The Axum Series – living room set with Axum Chair, Coffee Table and Ottoman inspired by the architectural styles if the Axum stelae in Axum, Ethiopia; The Berchuma – a line of stools which bring out the unique styles of contemporary African design as functional art pieces.
[Image credit: Birth Chair II – Jomo Design]

Jomo will also be showing other works at Dubai Design Week all inspired by his interest in traditional African furniture and design. Dubai Design Week runs from 24th-29th October.


– Tapiwa

Additional details:
For further information about Jomo Tariku and his work visit:
For further information about dubai Design Week visit:
[Image credits: All images belong to Jomo Furniture. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • 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
  • Instagram Image
  • Colourful basketry, soulful sculpture and an elegant candle make a nice placeholder we think, as we prepare to usher in a new chapter of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Gifted hands. A glimpse behind the scenes of Kaross a South African based embroidery initiative, whose artisans transform furnishings into works of art. [📷 credit: Kaross]
  • Tools of the trade, a hand carved printing block stamp by textile designer @juliekouamo whose evocative designs tell the stories of cultures past and present. Julie's textiles feature richly layered patterns, textures and printed pictures that come together to create vibrant collages. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]
  • Fishermen's boats, a familiar sight along the Senegalese coast line. [📷 credit: @tapiwamatsinde]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive