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AAKS x UNHCR Weaving For Change

Luxury artisanal accessory brand AAKS has launched a stunning home decor collection inspired by the theme Weaving for Change. The collection comprises five distinctive handcrafted lamps and light pendants, each created in partnership with women artisans from the Tuareg community in Northern Mali who are living as refugees in Burkina Faso. In working with this Tuareg community AAKS are helping to celebrate and preserve the community’s cultural identity and their time-honoured basket weaving traditions, a philosophy that has defined AAKS’s work with local communities in Ghana.

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Beazley Designs Of The Year 2017

  Sir David Adjaye has been announced as the overall winner of Beazley Design of the Year 2017, for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington designed in collaboration with The Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond, and SmithGroupJJR. Now in its tenth year Beazley Designs of the Year is an annual award and exhibition of the very best in international design held by The Design Museum, the world’s leading museum devoted to contemporary design and architecture; and sponsored by specialty insurers Beazley. 

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Reform Studio’s Eco-Friendly Fashion Accessories Made In Egypt

  Reform Studio is an Egyptian based furniture and product design studio that I first featured on Atelier Fifty Five a couple of years ago. The company founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem focuses on sustainable design, using materials such as discarded plastic and cotton threads to create Plastex, their durable, eco-friendly material. The award-winning studio now introduces Torero a collection of eco-fashion satchels made out of the company’s signature fabric and crafted by the skillful hands of two craftsmen and two housewives. Torero is all about style with a purpose.  

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Studio Lani

  Lani Adeoye is the founder of Studio Lani, an award-winning multi-disciplinary product design and interior architecture practice that creates furniture inspired by a modern Africa. Furniture design is inspired by Lani’s West African heritage is a strong feature of her furniture design aesthetic, which blurs the boundaries between design and art. Another characteristic is curved metal handcrafted in Nigeria. 

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Akrafo Luxury Organic and Natural Condiments Made In Africa

The SWAADY Group, creators of the luxury tea brand YSWARA, have created Akrafo a range of luxury premium organic artisanal teas, and gourmet sweet and savoury condiments ethically made in Africa. The name Akrafo refers to the soul-washers of the ancient Ashanti kingdom, who were responsible for the well-being of the community. And it is this spirit of looking out for others that is instilled into the Akrafo ethos, which upholds the SWAADY Group’s Luxe Ubuntu philosophy, of creating luxury brands with a social responsibility.

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IFI Congress and African Design and Culture Festival Nigeria

  Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling dynamic capital plays host to the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF), a four-day cultural extravaganza that is part of a series of activities organised for the International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects (IFI) 28th Biennial Congress. The Congress prepares to welcome over 500 local and international delegates and features architect Sir David Adjaye as a keynote speaker, Kunlé Adeyemi and writer, culture critic, and educator, Carol Becker,

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LIHA Handcrafted Natural Skin Care Launching Facial Range

  A few months back I introduced LIHA , a pioneering skincare brand that is all about natural beauty formulations made with rare ingredients. I caught up with the founders Abi and Liha to find out a bit more about the brand and their new product offering. Please introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about your backgrounds, where you are based and what has inspired your interest in natural skin care? ABI: Liha and I met at University in London nearly 18 years ago. After university I became a professional athlete, competing in 2 Olympic Games. Liha moved back to her hometown […]

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Ayok’a A Curated Platform For Stylish, Fun And Original Black Art

Our choice of art says a lot about who we are, reflecting our tastes and experiences amongst other indicators.  And despite digital platforms enabling us to discover original talent the sheer amount of information being put out can sometimes have the opposite effect of making it difficult to find, purchase or remember where we saw artwork that represents who we are in one place. Enter Ayok’a, a curated platform that brings together the work of talented black artists making it easy for you to find stylish, original and representative artwork to adorn your walls or carry about your person in the form […]

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Africa.Now – Exploring Africa’s Creative Community With Design Indaba

  Having spent the last seven years bringing you some of the names, designs, and services that have shaped the emergence and development of the creative industries across Africa one cannot help but be inspired by the energy surrounding what is happening; that feeling that anything is possible. Something that can at times be hard to articulate in a post when experiencing it in person can be so much more impactful. And this is the premise of Design Indaba’s Africa.Now initiative and video series, which brings you closer to the action through on-screen interviews with those who are an active […]

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Atelier Fifty Five Turns 7 As African Design Enters A New Era

  Today marks seven years of blogging! Seven years ago today I made a career shift and started a blog with vague ideas of what I wanted to do as a career, and no real idea of how I was going to get there. From the moment I created my first blog post to now when I have not only been privileged to witness the development of an industry -part of what I collectively refer to as the ‘golden age’ of contemporary African creativity- but to also create a career alongside it. The journey to this point has been a […]

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Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art Is Open

  The 22nd September 2017 saw the opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (Zeitz MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa, heralded as being the first major institution on the African continent dedicated to collecting, researching and preserving the art of contemporary Africa and its diaspora.

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Mozambican Artist Nelsa Guambe Merging Art and Sustainable Design

Nelsa Guambe is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Maputo, Mozambique. Primarily a painter Nelsa’s work moves beyond the canvas to incorporate product design, where working in collaboration with a local design studio, Piratas Do Pau her colourful and surreal images help to transform discarded water heaters collected from the city’s streets into distinctive functional products such as wine racks and lighting. As one of the designer-makers I had the pleasure of selecting for the IFA Pure Gold exhibition, which explores rubbish and its use in sustainable design to creating objects of value in design, I thought this would be a […]

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IFA Pure Gold Upcycled! Upgraded! Exhibition Exploring Sustainable Design

Greetings from the city of Hamburg in Germany where I am attending the press conference and opening of Pure Gold – Upcycled! Upgraded! a forward-thinking exhibition that explores rubbish, more specifically how found and waste materials are being used the world over to create objects of value, hence the title, Pure Gold. As one of the curators, I had the honour of selecting designers-makers to represent sub-Saharan Africa. [Image credit: H++, Chair and table set, 2011; Water hyacinth, metal, yarn, wood chair – Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman]

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Is Africa Following Or Setting Creative Trends?

I was asked the question Is Africa Following Or Setting Creative Trends? I found this to be a very interesting yet difficult question to answer, and having done my best to do so at the time, the question has stayed with me as I felt it was a really important one that warranted a much deeper explanation to the answer I gave, my initial feeling being that Africa is neither following nor setting trends.

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Nzuri Textiles Weaving a Brand of Sustainable Luxury

  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.

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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 […]

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