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Tinja Reinterpreting Classical Tunisian Crafts To Create A Handcrafted Modern Aesthetic

Handcrafted modern is the philosophy of Tinja, an interior design concept developed by a family passionate about their Tunisian crafts heritage. Tinja was founded by Salah Sfar, who wanted to find a way to reinterpret and preserve Tunisia’s handicraft traditions and those of other cultures that have had an impact, by creating a new contemporary vision developing products that would reflect the techniques, and time and care that had gone into making them. [Main image credit: Fokhar collection, Large Yellow Tray – Tinja]

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SafariFusion Modern African Interior Decor Accessories

Loving Safari Fusion’s beautifully styled 2015-16 Lookbook of modern African interior decor accessories and African baskets collection entitled, Woven & Stitched. The colourful, unique and functional collection presents the best in contemporary basketry made in Africa. Woven & Stitched is inspired by African basket weavers, and has brought together a range of grass and fibre baskets that showcase the way classical techniques and ancient traditions have been rejuvenated through the use of modern colour palettes and forms.

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Gone Rural Hand Painted African Baskets At Maud Interiors

Just spotted on Maud Interiors, via Pinterest these one-of-a-kind handwoven African baskets from Gone Rural sporting colourful hand painted splashes of paint in a stylistic nod to abstract expressionism. I have previously featured the work of Swazi-based social enterprise, Gone Rural on the site, and the organisation continues to shake up the industry with their innovative approach to contemporary African basketry. [Main image credit: Gone Rural Hand Painted Baskets – Maud Interiors]

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KuDu Redefining The Way We View African Interior Design Style

‘Africa is Beautiful. Africa is Home.’ Two concise, yet perfectly self explanatory statements that define the ethos of KuDu Home, a stylish online interiors boutique that presents contemporary African interior design style in the form of covetable curated collections of rare artifacts, luxurious contemporary furnishings, homeware, and decorative and lifestyle accessories made in Africa. Taking its name from a species of African antelope, renowned for its grace, beauty and stature, KuDu Home is the latest in a new wave of interior retailers redefining the way we view design and creativity from Africa, avoiding the stereotypes, and instead seeking to introduce a […]

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Otago Chandeliers Inspired by Dinka Corsets for Nandos

The intricate corsets worn by the Dinka of South Sudan are the inspiration for a bespoke range of African design lighting for a Nandos restaurant in Harrogate, UK. Worn by men, the bright colour coded Dinka corset indicates age, status and wealth within the community, whilst women wear a colourful beaded shawl type collar that also indicates age, status and wealth, read a previous feature I did on the corsets here. The lighting designs were based on the colour and the drape of the beaded strands, resulting in a collection of strikingly sophisticated yet fun lighting in keeping with Nandos’ quirky […]

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Ancient Tunisian Handicraft Meets Contemporary Swedish Design

The rich colours and detailed patterns of traditional Tunisian handicraft and artistry are blended harmoniously with the clean, minimal aesthetic synonymous with Scandinavian design, to create modern home decor and textiles collections by House of Rym. [Main image credit: Cover Me Up Cushion Cover in Heavenly Honeycomb in Rose – House of Rym]

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Suri Tribe of Ethiopia Inspire African Home Decor Lighting

  The Surilight is a cascading chandelier that showcases modern African home decor. The Surilight is inspired by classical African craft and adornment, in particular paying homage to the decorative earlobe discs worn by the women of the Suri Tribe in Ethiopia. Choosing from four silhouette frames as a base, the Surilight is a self-assembly system based on a series of interlocking circles and other optional components that allow you to configure and customise the chandelier to suit your style. The components are available in a range of finishes that include, metallics, acrylics and coated steel. In addition to this a […]

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African Style Homewares Anthropologie Habari Collection

Anthropologie’s latest season Dining and Entertaining collections see African Style Homewares courtesy of the Habari Collection. A range of bright hand painted dinnerware, serveware and printed table linens that appear to have been inspired by African print fabrics and East African Kanga’s.

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Contemporary Design Africa Book Modern African Home Decor And Design

Back in September 2014 I hinted at some news I was looking forward to sharing a few months into the future; well that time has now come and I am so thrilled to finally be able to introduce my forthcoming first book on modern African home decor and design entitled- Contemporary Design Africa. Contemporary Design Africa will be published by Thames & Hudson in May 2015 in the UK, and in early June in the US. [Image credit: Contemporary Design Africa, Cover – Thames & Hudson]

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Keteme Monochrome African Home Decor Accessories

Keteme is a lifestyle brand offering modern African home decor accessories.  The collections see inspirational of one-of-a-kind designs handcrafted in Africa, namely Ethiopia. Keteme exudes soothing understated elegance, and reveres the exclusivity that comes with handmade luxury. Keteme, meaning ‘urban dweller’ in Ahmaric, draws inspiration from Africa’s rising cities, exploring the ever-evolving notion of contemporary urban living. The company is a celebration of a continent on the rise and through its thoughtfully sourced and designed collection of African home decor accessories seeks to take its audience on a journey of transforming their living spaces with beautiful products conceived and made in Africa. [Main image […]

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Dassie African Home Accessories With Rustic Charm

Dassie is an online interiors store that retails beautifully crafted African home accessories. Dassie was founded by husband and wife team, David and Rox, who sought to bring their take on feel good African interior decor inspiration and homeware to the UK. The company draws on the couple’s South African heritage, and sources handmade products from artisans across the African continent. [Image credit: Chevron Enamel Tableware – Dassie]

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Uplifting African Home Accessories And Furnishings

The New Year brings with it good intentions to think, do and be better mentally, physically and spiritually in work and play. Get of to a good start by surrounding yourself with inspirational quotes and ancient words of wisdom to help you along your way courtesy of Bespoke Binny, a London-based creator and retailer of uplifting African home accessories and furnishings. [Image credit: Wax print and African Proverb Cushion Collections – Bespoke Binny]

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Modern Islamic and North African Interior Design Inspiration

Visiting 100% Design in early autumn I came across Mica, a gallery and interiors design company that specialises in modern Islamic and North African interior design and contemporary arts. Based in the UK Mica was founded in 2009 by Reedah El-Saie. At 100% Design, and also Decorex, Reedah launched Mica’s debut contemporary Islamic home interiors collection entitled ‘MICA Zen’. The collection is rooted in traditional Islamic art & architecture and centres on the point of infinity, embodying the principles of beauty and balance. Reedah sought to fuse Eastern holistic designs with Western creativity to create a stylish collection of Islamic and North African interior design […]

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Ostrich Egg Bowls Stylish African Home Decor Accessories

Ostrich shells have been used in Africa for thousands of years, the fragments shaped into beads and the large hollow shell used as bowls, cups and containers. Thick, yet fragile the shells have featured painted scenes, and have been decorated with intricate carved or punctured patterns. These beautiful sculpted bowls from The Ostrich Company see the natural rough texture of the shell contrasted with the smooth shiny finish of the interior, giving them a modern update as stylish African home decor accessories. The insertion of bases and metal feet for added functionality and the deep rich hues used further enhance their […]

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Otago Sophisticated Design Led African Accessories For The Home

High quality craftsmanship and artisanal skills lie at the heart of Otago, a UK-based luxury brand of African accessories for the home that collaborates mainly with artisans in East and Southern Africa, combining their skills with cutting-edge contemporary design aesthetics to produce their sophisticated design-led home decor craft collections. [Image credit: Kipapu Platters & Shanga Ya Ngozi Bottles – Otago]

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Eva Sonaike Eko Eclipse African Inspired Home Decor

[Image credit: Eko Eclipse Collection – Eva Sonaike] London-based textile and lifestyle brand Eva Sonaike launches Eko Eclipse, their latest African inspired home decor collection of textiles and soft furnishings that are based on vibrant African prints. The brand’s creative director, Eva Sonaike herself drew inspiration from the West African metropolis that is Lagos, which was formerly known as Eko and was imbued with the folklore of the symbiotic relationship between the earth, the moon and the traditional Gods of the universe, who brought rain, wind and thunder to the planet.

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Stylishly Stitched Bowls African Home Decor Accessories

[Image credit: Stitched Bowls – Quazi Design] Quazi Design’s African home decor accessories combines cutting edge craft with design driven aesthetics. The company, based in Swaziland is a social enterprise built on the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability, and was started in 2009, by Doron a designer from the UK; and Flotsam, a local Swazi magazine distributor. Quazi Design creates personal and interior African home decor accessories from recycling locally sourced 100% waste magazines, layering or rolling up the pages to give the designs a 3D effect, and once a year showcases their innovative paper fashion.

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British / Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare Fine Dining Collection For Tate

[Image credit: Yinka Shonibare for Tate, Small Plate – Tate] British/Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE has designed an exclusive range of highly collectable fine bone china dinnerware for Tate, one the UK’s premier art institutions. The limited edition collection sees a distinctively patterned tea set and dinner plates inspired by, the Tate’s archives, research Yinka carries out at the institution, as well influences from his own work. The illustrations combine historical text and imagery, which is incorporated into several different collage patterns, based on the Yinka’s intricate collage drawings. The patterns are created using an array of media, including the Dutch Wax fabrics the British/Nigerian artist often incorporates into […]

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Dar Leone Pop-Up African Inspired Textiles And Home Decor

Yesterday evening I headed to Clerkenwell where stylish interiors brand, Dar Leone was hosting an intimate drinks reception to mark the opening of their week long pop-up shop. I have previously featured Dar Leone here. Bringing their signature global traveller style and African inspired textiles to the area, the pop-up opened its doors on Monday 31st March and will run until Sunday 6th April. Plenty of time to pop along to meet Isatu, Dar Leone’s founder and browse the colourful offerings. [Image credits: Dar Leone Pop Up Shop, Clerkenwell – Atelier Fifty-Five]

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African Christmas Decorations And Christmas Wishes

If, and I’m guessing that’s a big if, you have yet to put up and dress your Christmas tree, let these colourful hand beaded African Christmas decorations provide some decorative inspiration. The baubles are handmade by artisans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa using tiny glass seed beads and 100% copper wire. Using a real hen’s egg as the base form, the artisans skilfully employ traditional Zulu beading techniques to create intricate patterns in a number of sparkling colourways. These African Christmas decorations are also perfect for Easter tables, or simply place in a glass bowl or vase for an eye-catching centrepiece. I came across the […]

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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]

Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive