Press Enter / Return to begin your search.

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

  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 […]

Read More

Le BHV Marais Paris Celebrates South African Art and Design

  Paris is having a love affair with all things contemporary Africa design, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. First is was Africa as the guest of honour at the Paris Art Fair held in March/April, then Africa Now at the Galeries Lafayette shopping destination, and now the iconic department store Le BHV Marais in the heart of the historic and trendy Marais district, which dedicates almost two months to celebrating contemporary South African art and design and culture.  

Read More

Olivia Knox Accessories Inspired by The Beauty of Ankole Horn

  Olivia Knox is an interior accessories company born out of seeing the beauty in Ankole horn, which has a distinctive light ivory colour. The company was founded by Olivia Byanyima who hails from Uganda and lives in New York, and Shanley Knox from California, and is driven by the story of Olivia’s childhood in Uganda, where she spent a lot of time on her father’s ranch watching his herd of Ankole cattle roam the surrounding plains alongside buffalo, zebra, leopard, and lion.  

Read More

Mhondoro Game Lodge Spotlights African Design

  Mhondoro Game Lodge in Welgevonden Reserve, South Africa opened in early 2016 and seeks to move beyond being just another luxury Africa travel bush destination. Designed to give guests a seamless experience of luxury interiors and bushveld landscape Mhondoro Game Lodge combines cutting-edge architecture with some of the best in African design interior inspiration. The Mhondoro Game Lodge was created by interior designer Myriam Vogel who co-owns the lodge with her husband Frank.  

Read More

YSWARA Unveils A Tranquil Tearoom To Savour Precious African Teas

  There is nothing I love more than a good cup of tea, the stronger the better. Anytime is teatime as far as I am concerned, so you can only imagine what I think about those who take their tea as seriously as I do. Like YSWARA for instance, the luxury tea brand championing made in Africa, who are reviving the ceremony of ancient African tea drinking rituals with its offering of specially blended teas and accompanying accessories. And now you can immerse yourself fully in the YSWARA brand experience with the launch of their flagship tearoom and store in […]

Read More

100% Design South Africa Chic African Interior Design Inspiration

August heralds the start of the global design exhibition season, which runs for several months. In Johannesburg, 100% Design South Africa, billed as the go-to interior design show for all things African design will run from the 5th-9th August. Now in its third year 100% Design South Africa will channel continental African cool with its abundance of contemporary ‘Chic Afrique’ – African interior design inspiration content.

Read More

The Aga Concept African Inspired Cooking Utensils And Accessories

The newsletter of textile designer Eva Sonaike introduced me to a stylish range of African inspired cooking utensils by The Aga Concept, a design and lifestyle brand that is inspired by culture and everyday living in Africa. For a lot of Zimbabweans living abroad, and most likely for a lot of Africans in general, cooking traditional food is simply not the authentic experience we crave without the traditional utensils from home, usually brought back on every trip, because buying and using that wooden spoon or pestle and mortar from your local store is somehow just not the same. Our traditional […]

Read More

Interior Designer Ghislaine Vinas Designs ShweShwe Wallpaper For Flavor Paper

ShweShwe is an awarding winning wallpaper designed by interior designer Ghislaine Viñas for Flavor Paper. Born in the Netherlands, raised in South Africa and now living in New York Ghislaine turned the popular African print textile from her childhood into a stylish interior accessory by translating the distinctive intricate often dotted geometric patterns that characterise ShweShwe into a bold exaggerated print wallpaper collection. ShweShwe is available in four colourways, each named after South African wildlife. ShweShwe wallpaper is digitally printed and available on a number of materials for residential and commercial use that range from eco-friendly to vinyl.  

Read More

Support Textile Brand Kouamo To Kickstarter Success

London-based textiles brand, Koumao recently launched a Kickstarter campaign and needs your support to help launch their third collection, which is inspired by Indonesia. The campaign, which ends on May 24th, 2016, entitled ‘Let your home accessories reflect your travels‘ draws on the stories, places, and cultures that influence French-Cameroonian founder, Julie Kouamo, and is an ethos that forms an integral part of the brand’s DNA. Kouamo’s design aesthetic is highly evocative combining traditional print techniques such as batik with modern digital processes, and layering photography, illustrations, and rich, vibrant colour. Kouamo’s previous collections include Bangou, which incorporates motifs and […]

Read More

Modern South African Textiles The Ardmore Collection By Halsted

Luxury South African textiles and lifestyle brand Halsted introduced The Ardmore Collection of textiles and interior accessories to an audience of interior industry professionals and journalists, with an intimate afternoon champagne tea at the Patrick Mavros store in London. The collection of textiles, interior furnishings and furniture on display were inspired by the iconic imagery, bold colour, and witty spirit of the world-renowned ceramic studio Ardmore Ceramic Art, which is the sister company to Halsted.  

Read More

Eva Sonaike FALOMO Collection Inspired By Mid-Century African Architecture

London- based textile design studio, Eva Sonaike unveiled FALOMO, their latest textile collection at Maison & Object. Featuring a soft spring-fresh colour palette of lilacs, pinks and greys accentuated with bold purple and green hues, the Falomo collection exudes modern African interior design style and is inspired by mid-century African architecture from the late 1940s. Also referred to as ‘Tropical Modernism’, the architectural style combined western building styles with local building traditions.

Read More

Adele Dejak Launches Luxury Lifestyle Interior Accessories Collection

The Adele Dejak Lifestyle brand was launched in 2014 and brings the modern elegance and luxury Africa aesthetic of Adele Dejak jewellery designs to interior decor accessories and bespoke home products. The Adele Dejak Lifestyle collection includes stylish bowls, spoons, and candle holders all handcrafted from Ankole cow horn, which is sourced from Uganda and is a by-product of the beef industry.  

Read More
  • 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