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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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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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A Peaceful Weekend Home In Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills

  Matobo also known as Matopos in the southern region of Zimbabwe is an area of outstanding natural beauty, known for its imposing gravity-defying granite formations, balancing rock formations created by the gradual erosion of the area’s granite plateau. These formations form the Matobo National Hills a part of the Matobo National Park. The Matobo Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the area is recognised for the highest concentration of prehistoric rock paintings in Southern Africa. It is also the historical land of King Mzilikazi and his son Lobengula. For lovers of wildlife, the Matobo National Park is […]

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Mashirbirya Patterns Inspire Saba Studio’s Furniture Made On Lamu Island

  Centuries-old Mashirbirya patterns have inspired a contemporary collection of limited edition furniture made on Kenya’s, Lamu Island. Architect, Moran Munyuthe who lives and works in Lamu, designed the collection called The Mashirbirya Collection, which comprises a table and chair. Mashirbirya patterns are seen in Arabic-Bantu architecture, usually part of a wooden lattice screen that is used to shade the interior of buildings and decorate the exterior. Mashirbirya patterns are intricate, the style reflecting the rich cultural heritage of Lamu and how the culture of the Arab traders to Africa’s East coast where assimilated into the local Bantu culture.

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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.  

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Remembering Kossi Aguessy, A Visionary Designer and Artist

  It is with great shock and sadness that I learned about the death of the designer and artist Kossi Aguessy on 17th April 2017 on what was his 40th birthday. Having first discovered and featured his work on the website in 2011, I later had the privilege of interviewing him for a Design Indaba profile. The exchange was both fascinating and insightful as he shared his hopes and visions for future projects.

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PPC Imaginarium Awards Supporting South African Art and Design

The PPC Imaginarium Awards is an ambitious South African art and design competition aimed at providing emerging artists and designers with the opportunity to showcase their talents through the medium of concrete. Launched several years ago as a project of the innovation department of South African cement production company, PPC Ltd, the awards have since grown in stature with this years Awards attracting 869 registered entries, from which 55 finalists have been chosen. The PPC Imaginarium Awards features five categories: Film, Industrial Design, Sculpture, Fashion and Jewellery all presenting an array of exciting and imaginative works that demonstrate the versatility and unexpected beauty of concrete. An overall winner will be […]

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BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty By Mario Epanya

If you are follower of African fashion, style and beauty, then you are probably familiar with the images of Paris-based photographer Mario Epanya. The Mario Epanya who divided online opinion with his super-stylish series of fictional Vogue Africa covers, a concept that was turned down by Condé Nast giving rise to the debate of whether or not Africa needed Vogue. Fast forward seven years and the Cameroonian-born photographer is once again setting the digital world alight this time with his debut book BEAUTIFUL: Portraits of Black Beauty. And what a treat it is.

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Serpentine Gallery’s Summer Pavilion Designed By Francis Kéré

  The Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London has become a seasonal design highlight designed by the likes of Frank Gehry, Bjarke Ingels, Herzog & de Meuron and the late Zaha Hadid. This year the Summer Pavilion is designed by Francis Kéré, the architect from Burkina Faso who is known for his innovative thought-provoking, interactive and colourful installations. The Summer Pavilion is an open structure where visitors can sit, order food from the food cafe, as well as playing host to a programme of events throughout the summer season.

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YSWARA Brings Their Elegant Tearoom Experience To Ghana

  The launch of luxury tea brand YSWARA’s Johannesburg tearoom has been joined by the opening of one in Accra, Ghana. The YSWARA tearoom and boutique is part of a collaborative space shared with local retailer Luxury Living and Akrafo, YSWARA’S sister brand of gourmet condiment’s, bringing gourmet and interior decor experience to the city’s stylish residents.  

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  • This popular Africanisim beautifully illustrates the pioneering spirit of togethernes. It highlights how working and collaborating with others can propel you to new heights. Building a business rarely happens in isolation. Atelier Fifty Five seeks to to shine the light on African brands, and this includes extending a hand by sharing our knowledge and expertise to help African brands become the best they can be. So let us go together. Sign up to the Atelier Fifty Five Academy mailing list and join a community of ambitious creative business owners dedicated to creating brands that make their audiences sit up and take notice.⁣
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.  #quotes #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #africanproverb #brandstrategy #creativeentrepreneur  #entrepreneur #mycreativebiz  #brandbuilding #africanstartup #africanbusiness #makeithappen
  • Preserving traditional skills the Kayla cushion by Frida 54 highlights the art of Tritik, a process of knotting and sewing that results in a variety of symmetric patterns. Handwoven with 100% cotton from the cotton mills of northern Cameroon the textiles are dyed with handmade dyes using ancestral techniques. [📷 credit: @frida_54 ]
  • Values . Respecting the design [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Infuse your interior style with the colourful elegance of African beaded necklaces courtesy of The African Woven Necklace light shade by @moderngesture. The design features graduating circular hoops each hand wrapped with colourful woven thread bands. Handcrafted in Cape Town, South Africa by designer Candice Lawrence, the lighting is available in the  Atelier Fifty Five shop. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • 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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Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive