Building your own house is a dream for many and it is always so interesting to see what people come up with, spanning the range of beautifully inspired interiors to what were they thinking. Whilst browsing one of my favourite blogs – alifemorefabulous – I came across the stunning and innovative home of Ghanaian-born architect Joe Osae-Addo and was immediately struck by the abundant use of natural materials and how open, light and airy the space is. Osae-Addo’s home is a showcase of modern African architecture at its best.
I love the element of surprise (as long as it’s a good one of course!!); and the Forest Town Long House located in Johannesburg, South Africa rises to the challenge…resembling a large shipping container, this house doesn’t look like much from the entrance approach; however swivel round to the back and what you get is an impressive expanse of open spaces maximising on light, and views that take in a forest of trees and an extensive garden covered with dense foliage. What drew me to the house was the vast sliding door that acts as a removable wall; completely opening up the living space to let the outside in a vice versa.
[Image credit: Exterior, Forest Town Long House – studioMAS/Tristan Mclaren]
I’ve just finished reading a book called ‘Saffron Skies’ by author Lesley Lokko; whom I came to know of the by chance when I happened to catch a fairly old rerun of the lifestyle show Studio 53, featuring an interview with her. As an avid reader I can’t understand why Lesley Lokko hadn’t crossed my radar before, but a couple of clicks on Google brought me quickly up to speed and having got my hands on a couple of her books I’m definitely making up for lost time! Sweeping tales, offering escapism to some of the world’s most glamorous and intriguing locations, Lesley’ novels are good old-fashioned blockbusters, the type you want to read in an entire sitting if it was possible; at the same time willing it not to end as you get caught up in the lives and loves of the characters. Lesley’s novels are also reflections of her dual Ghanaian/Scottish heritage and include settings in a number of Africa’s cities; presented to the reader as real, vibrant and progressive places.
[Image credit: Home Exterior and Garden – Lesley Lokko]
I don’t know whose houses these are but they are fine examples of contemporary African architecture and design from Koffi & Diabaté; a leading architectural firm based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Koffi & Diabaté Architect Agency is primarily a partnership between founder and manager, Guillaume Koffi and Issa Diabaté who initially started at the firm as an intern, then became an employee before eventually being made partner. The partners work alongside a team of 18, all sharing ideas to bring the concepts to life. Koffi & Diabaté’s portfolio consists of mainly commercial architecture following the ethos of applying modern architectural methods to the current African urban context; in projects ranging from multi-storey buildings, to interior and industrial spaces. The architects also undertake commissions for private residences and going hand in hand with architecture, furniture is also designed to complement the architectural designs.
[Main image credit: Villa Mercury 2003 – KoffiandDiabate Architect Agency]
[Image credit: dwell/Dook – September 2007]