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Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with the October opening fast approaching I am delighted to share with you the details and introduce the amazing designers and artisanal talent I selected, as follows

 

Re-imagining techniques and materials these designers are paying homage to the skill of making things by hand and in doing so are recognising how craft is at the heart of true luxury. A type of luxury that is no longer defined solely by hefty price tags, but rather by the ‘money can’t buy’ attributes of time, experiences, and emotional connections. And this is what sets craft-led design apart in a world of mass-production. On a continent renowned for exceptional craftsmanship Africa’s craft heritages both the old, and the new ones being developed, bring a profound sense of purpose to the products being created; telling the stories of what has gone before, what is happening in the present, and what is to come and thereby creating a link between heritage & modernity. – Tapiwa Matsinde, Guest Curator

 

Àga Concepts

The Àga Concept is an urban design and culture brand that takes inspiration from everyday African living to design homeware and accessories that fuse cultural heritage with modern minimalist aesthetics. Products are handcrafted in Nigeria.

 

Aga Concept - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Saba Studio

Moran Munyuthe is an architect and designer who produces his furniture designs under the brand

Saba Studio, Munyuthe’s aim is to help preserve an ancient tradition of wood-carving skills by giving the craft a place in modern society. Products are hand carved and crafted in Lamu.

 

Saba Studio - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Adèle Dejak

Adèle Dejak is all about bold, stylish jewellery and fashion accessories that are inspired by African tribes, textiles, culture, and traditions, and produced by local artisans in Kenya and the East African region.

 

Adele Dejak - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Dounia Home

Dounia Home was founded on a mission to celebrate and preserve Morocco’s craft heritages. The company’s lighting, furniture and accessories collections are produced using a combination of traditional craft techniques with modern innovation. Products are handcrafted in Morocco.

 

Dounia Home - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Dounia Home - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Tongoro

Tongoro prides itself in being a 100% Made in Africa brand that sources all its materials from the continent. Founded by Sarah Diouf, the brand works with local tailors to produce its high-quality fashion garments that embody the style conscious, modern consumer who seeks variety, quality, and convenience at affordable prices. Products are handcrafted in Dakar, Senegal.

 

Tongoro - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

Tongoro - Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair

 

The Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair is a not-to-be-missed shopping and social experience that takes place once a year only and has become known as the go-to spot for discerning Joburgers. Meet these talented designers and artisans in Hyde Park from the 13-15th October to shop products that are Well Made in Africa.

 

Tickets are now available online, so if you happen to be in Johannesburg it would be great to see you.

 

– Tapiwa

 

 

Additional details:

For further information about the Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair visit: www.sanlamhmc.co.za

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  • 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