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FatyLy Ceramics Bringing to Life The Stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage

Fatimata ‘Faty’ Ly is a Senegalese artist who uses ceramics as her canvas, the blank surfaces enabling her to bring to life the stories of Africa’s rich cultural and artistic heritage. A graduate of London’s prestigious Central St Martin’s Faty is based in Dakar, Senegal where she designs her eponymous collections for production in Limoges, France, an area famed for its production of hard-paste porcelain.

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IKEA’S Modern Rituals In Collaboration With African Designers

In a preview of its forthcoming collaboration with African designers IKEA introduces ÖVERALLT a limited edition collection of tableware, textiles, and seating inspired by the modern rituals across all cultures that punctuate everyday life, what we do and use to make us feel at home. The collection was developed by ten designers from seven African countries partnered with IKEA’s team of designers.

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Dedani collection

It’s cold here at the moment, and when the temps dip towards the minus figures, it’s all I can do not to spend the days hibernating, drinking tea and snuggled under a blanket for some much-needed warmth. The cosy cashmere and wool blend blankets from Dedani Collection would be perfect allowing me to hibernate in style. Dedani Collection is a South African textiles brand that is creating handcrafted interior and fashion textiles from luxurious natural fibres. 

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The Urbanative Telling Africa’s Stories Through Furniture Design

TheUrbanative by South African product and furniture designer Mpho Vackier is a collection of furniture and products that aim to tell the stories of African culture both past and present. TheUrbanative’s designs are characterised by bold geometric shapes and graphic patterns based on the patterns of diverse African cultures fused with midcentury European design. 

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Pino Nord’s Bold Afro Scandi Graphic Black and White Prints Made In Kenya

Bold graphic black and white prints with a distinctive Afro-Scandi aesthetic characterise the designs of Pino Nord, a design lifestyle company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Pino Nord draws on the minimalism of Scandinavian design, and fuses this with the vibrancy, boldness and artistic expression of daily life in Nairobi, and from this fusion comes a style that Pino Nord calls Tropical Minimalism.

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Christmas Wishes From Atelier Fifty Five

Once again the festive holidays are upon us, and I want to take the time to say a big, heartfelt thank you to you dear reader for being a part of the Atelier Fifty Five journey. This past year has been one of reflection and metamorphosis as the platform undergoes significant change to move it forward, and I hope you will continue to join me as it does so. Change is not easy, it is challenging and exhausting, so as always I will be taking some time away from the platform to rest and relax in the company of loved […]

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Ranti Bam’s Organic And Sculptural Collage Ceramics

Freeform, organic, and sculptural are just some of the words that come to mind when viewing the work of ceramicist Ranti Bamgbala aka Ranti Bam, who is inspired by a love of words and metaphor, Eastern philosophy, etymology, and clay. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in London Ranti set up her studio practice in 2015 after graduating from the renowned City Lit Ceramics degree course.

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Small Business Saturday Buying African Design And Introducing The Shop at Atelier Fifty Five

Small/independent businesses can find it hard to compete with the ‘slash all prices’ nature of major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Whilst large established retailers can afford to drastically cut their prices in a bid to attract shoppers, for the small business owner following suit could mean barely making a profit and negatively impacting their bottom line. Enter Small Business Saturday an annual event that encourages consumers to support their local small independent business owners by spending their money with them instead.

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Nurture Mind, Body And Soul At The Tounche Global Consciousness Summit

Despite being the season of peace and goodwill to all, December can be one of the most stressful times of the year, as we get caught up in the finishing of work, hitting those goals before the new year, and of course the flurry of activity that comes with the social aspect of the season. So rather apt for this time of year is the annual Tounché Global Consciousness Summit. Taking place just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa at the Nirox Sculpture Park in The Cradle of Humankind on Saturday 8th December 2018 the Summit is all about a facilitating a […]

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Global Entrepreneurship Week

No-one wakes up and automatically knows how to run a business. It is a skill that needs to be learned and honed over time, even if you have a natural talent for it. As a creative entrepreneur, I stumbled many times in the early years of trying to build a successful business. I had no immediate examples of what I needed to do, so just went with what I thought would be the right things to do. Much of my early ideas about business were borne from novels featuring successful heroines who made having their dream businesses look easy and […]

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Celebrating Refinement, Elegance and Craft Flowing From the Ateliers of Africa

Trees are important in rural African culture, they bring people together, making them the focal point of the community. A lot happens under a tree, people sit seeking refuge from the rays of the sun, leisurely watching the world go by, church services take place, school lessons conducted, a visiting health clinic sets up triage, and craftswomen lay their mats down sitting atop them, a baby or two sleeping beside them, as they weave baskets, bead clothing, jewellery and more, their skillful hands not missing beat as they catch up on the latest news and gossip.

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Pamper Your Skin With 54 Thrones Botanical Skincare Made In Africa

More and more people are shunning chemically formulated on the shelf beauty products in favour of natural, holistic handcrafted formulations, and the beauty industry has witnessed a rise in brands around the world catering to this need by tapping into their own homegrown beauty rituals and bringing them to global attention. And Africa is no exception. Natural skin care ingredients such as cocoa butter and shea that have been used by African women for centuries are being recognised for their benefits, but we are only just scratching the surface. Fruit of the African soil, ingredients such as baobab, marula, and […]

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Kenyan Artist Evans Mbugua For Chaumet Tresors D’afrique Jewellery Collection

Trésors d’Afrique translates as Treasures from Africa, and is an ode to past and present, culture and modernity presented in the form of luxury jewellery pieces by the prestigious French jeweller and watchmaker Chaumet in collaboration with Kenyan artist, Evans Mbugua who is based in Paris. Trésors d’Afrique is third and final destination in the Mondes du Chaumet collection, a globe-trotting journey through jewels that has taken in the splendours of Russia, and Japan. Chaumet is inspired by the coming together of different cultures that celebrate and honour majestic femininity to create new ideas, imagined by their master jewellers who continually […]

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The Baba Tree Basket Company

Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region is synonymous with basket weaving, and the distinctive round-bellied Bolga Market basket with its sturdy handles. Building on the region’s basket weaving heritage local business The Baba Tree Basket Company is producing some stunning gravity-defying basket designs, woven from locally sourced natural materials and dyed in vibrant colours.

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MitiMeth Turning Water Hyacinth Into Functional Handcrafted Products

Water Hyacinth is a plant that takes root in waterways the world over, causing destruction to aquatic and plant eco-systems. For communities that rely on their waterways for food, livelihoods, and transportation water hyacinth blocks access to the water essential to their survival. In Nigeria, a local social enterprise, MitiMeth, is harvesting water hyacinth and turning it into functional handcrafted products, and empowering members of the local community.

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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
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  • 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]

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