Today marks 8 years of blogging, four of those as Atelier Fifty-Five. Originally called African Daydreams when I changed the name I was asked why the name Atelier Fifty Five, in other words, what did it mean, what was its relevance. So here goes:
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 push the limits of what is possible with jewellery.
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.
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.
I have mentioned my love of tea several times on the blog. For me, it is about more than justing drinking it, but rather a chance to take a break unwind, relax and reflect. So naturally, am drawn to brands that create an exceptional tea drinking experience. And recently discovered Sayra, a high-end tea house that celebrates the art and history of Moroccan tea drinking rituals.
HKA | Hermann Kamte & Associates is an award-winning architectural practice based in Yaounde, Cameroon. The practice was founded by Hermann Kamte, a rising star in architecture who seeks to bring a new dynamic to African architecture and introducing it to the international community. HKA is defining future living as it explores sustainable architecture with social impact, devising solutions that enable people and communities to live without negatively impacting their environment. An issue that is of increasing global concern.
Luxury footwear ZYNE, known for modernising the traditional Moroccan babouche slipper has launched an exclusive crystal embellished satin and raffia collection with the online luxury fashion portal Net-a-Porter. The collection features the brand’s signature style of jewel colour tones, elaborate embroidery and shimmering beads and sequins. For about ZYNE see my previous feature here.
Kenyan-based jewellery designer Adele Dejak turns to her Nigerian roots with Àmi, her latest luxury jewellery collection designed in collaboration with Afrominima, the Nigerian design and lifestyle brand by Olubunmi Adeyemi that fuses the ethos of Scandinavian style, Japanese minimalism with African heritage.
Salone del Mobile, the prestigious Italian furniture fair opens its doors today offering visitors the very best in international furniture design concepts. Salone del Mobile is also home to SaloneSatellite an event that spotlights promising young designers under 35 by giving them a platform to connect with manufacturers, buyers and talent scouts. Noted for launching the careers of designers such as Oki Sato of Nendo, this year’s SaloneSatellite theme is Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente and as such is presenting a group of designers representing both regions. Among those representing African design is Jomo Tariku, founder of Jomo Furniture who is unveiling a new design, The Nyala chair, which is inspired by the graceful curves of antelope horns; and alongside him Lani Adeoye founder of Studio Lani whose furniture is based on organic forms; and luxury lighting by textile design brand AMWA in collaboration with The Bespoke Boutique. Industrial designer Ifeanyi Oganwu who specializes in combining craft with engineering has previously participated in SaloneSatellite.