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.
Nzuri is an ethically conscious luxury textiles brand that is immersed in ancient hand weaving traditions from around the world. The brand, founded in 2013 by Eno Jonah, is driven by an ethos to preserve traditional craftsmanship, cultural heritage, and the integrity of small industries. And is inspired by a love of travel, which enabled Eno to learn about the beauty, and value of textiles in different cultures across Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Ancient Adinkra symbols and the wisdom of Ghanaian proverbs serve as the decorative backdrop to a collection of handmade and handprinted interior textiles and decor accessories by AMWA Designs, a UK-based studio that was founded in 2014 by textile designer Chrissa Amuah, a graduate of Chelsea College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London.
African textiles offer a fascinating array of colours, patterns, and textures that can instantly transform an interior. But with so much on offer, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to start especially for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the fabrics. So to help you get started we caught up with London based textile and interior furnishings designer, Eva Sonaike for her tips on decorating with African textiles. And here is what she had to say…
It is 2017 and I can proudly say that ‘Africa is the New Black’! We launched our new FALOMO RISE Collection at Maison & Objet in Paris earlier this year, the feedback from press and buyers has been great and I was pleasantly surprised to see such a strong and diverse presence of the African aesthetic in the world of design, across many disciplines. Even better, I read an article in a German newspaper, that talked about Ikea’s collaboration with designers from across the African content to develop a new ‘Africa’ collection that will launch in 2019! So I assume you agree with me when I say ‘Africa IS the new black’.
But how do you incorporate African textiles in your home without achieving an over-ethnicized or stereotypical look?
Currently crushing on these gorgeous Cocktail chairs from UK retailer Graham and Green. The chairs are upholstered in the front with sumptuous jewel-toned velvets in yellow and teal, and each colourway paired with a complementary intricately patterned African print wax textile to the back. The result is classic design with modern appeal. Cocktail chairs are a 1950s mid-century design classic, sought after for their simple yet chic silhouettes. The chairs make great accent pieces in living spaces, and these will be ideal for those looking to incorporate some Afro-chic interior inspiration.
[Image credit: Alpana Velvet Chair – Graham and Green ]
The ancient art Of Egyptian appliqué has inspired a textile project called Kheyameya. Kheyameya refers to the intricately stitched textiles made by the legendary Tentmakers of Cairo, highly skilled artists who for centuries have created appliqué textiles that were traditionally used to line the interior of tents. As time has passed the number of artists has dwindled and the Khayameya produced today are mainly for home furnishings or wall hangings for the tourist market.
Dotted around the lounge at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair was a collection of colourful, contemporary seating by product designer Ifeanyi Oganwu, African inspired textiles design brand Toghal and jewellery designer Artist Phoebe Boswell. Ifeanyi was approached by Dayo Forster, Toghal’s founder to create a seating structure on which to present their cylindrical bolster cushions.
Fashion designer Mimi Plange has collaborated with high-end French furniture design company Roche Bobois on a limited edition furniture collection upholstered in Mimi Plange textile designs that references her West African design cultural and heritage. The Roche Bobois collection is centred around one of the furniture house’s iconic furniture pieces, the modular Mah Jong Sofa that was designed in 1971 by German artist Hans Hopfer, and has since been dressed by some of the biggest names in fashion from the late Sonia Rykiel to Jean-Paul Gaultier. The collaboration features several Mimi Plange textile designs each incorporating a different theme from vintage florals to Kente Cloth to Ashanti Dolls to quilted feathers, the latter a signature of the Mimi Plange brand.
[Image credit: Mimi Plange x Roche Bobois Asante Doll Army Ice Blue]
Experimental textile designer Yemi Awosile introduces L. Solstice, a limited-edition collection of hand-dyed and printed scarves produced in India. Made from natural textiles the scarves feature striking patterns that are achieved with hand-carved block prints using natural vegetable and mineral dyes and techniques including indigo mud resist.