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Nurture Mind, Body And Soul At The Tounche Global Consciousness Summit

Despite being the season of peace and goodwill to all, December can be one of the most stressful times of the year, as we get caught up in the finishing of work, hitting those goals before the new year, and of course the flurry of activity that comes with the social aspect of the season. So rather apt for this time of year is the annual Tounché Global Consciousness Summit. Taking place just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa at the Nirox Sculpture Park in The Cradle of Humankind on Saturday 8th December 2018 the Summit is all about a facilitating a […]

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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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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 […]

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Design Week Addis Ababa Showcasing Ethiopian Contemporary Design

Design Week Addis Ababa (DWAA) is the latest addition to Africa’s wider creative calendar. The annual event launches this weekend – 12-13 December –  at the Mosaic Hotel near Bole Medhanealem, Addis Ababa. DWAA is the initiative of creative director Metasebia Yoseph who seeks to shine the spotlight on Ethiopia’s contemporary creative talent, from technology, fashion and textiles, food and gastronomy, architecture, industrial design, interiors, graphic design, and art.

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Contemporary African Design And Craft At Open Design Festival Cape Town

 Join myself, Tapiwa Matsinde and South African author, Elbe Coetsee on Tuesday 18th August 2015 as we discuss contemporary African design and craft, and our recent publications,Contemporary Design Africa (Thames & Hudson) and Craft Art in South Africa (Jonathan Ball) respectively. Elbé will be there in person to answer questions, and I will be joining in over Skype from London. The event is part of The Open Design Book Boutique at the Open Design Cape Town Festival.

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Contemporary Design Africa Book Launch And Designer Showcase Event

Contemporary Design Africa will be launched at a special event at The Jungle in Johannesburg, South starting this Thursday. If you happen to be in Johannesburg between the 9th -25th July, pop along to the concept store, where in addition to celebrating the book, The Jungle will also be showcasing and selling the work of select designers featured within the book’s pages. A great opportunity to see some of the designs first hand. [Image featured, Chair by Nulangee Design courtesy David Crookes for Design Network Africa]  

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Imaginarium Awards Nurturing South Africa’s Emerging Creative Talent

The Imaginarium Awards, an ambitious modern art and design awards was launched by PPC Ltd with the aim of promoting and supporting South Africa’s emerging creative talent. The competition invited entries across six categories: film, industrial design, fashion, jewellery, architecture and sculpture. Winners of the inaugural event were announced in January 2015. [Main image credit: PPC Imaginarium Awards]

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Africa Design Award Celebrating Contemporary Design in Africa

The inaugural Africa Design Award prize ceremony was held on the 25th May in Libreville, Gabon, as part of the prestigious New York Forum Africa 2014 event. Founded by award-winning Moroccan creator, designer and architect Hicham Lahlou, the Africa Design Award is a visionary initiative to celebrate and fly the flag for contemporary design and innovation across the Continent in all its forms. [Image credit: Africa Design Award Logo – Africa Design Award]

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New Year And New Inspirations Exploring Creative Africa

As 2014 gets under way, it brings with it the promise of another great year for creative Africa in design, music, fashion, art and all round creative inspiration. 2014 sees Cape Town, South Africa take on the mantle of World Design Capital, bringing with it a whole host of events; and late 2013 saw Brazzaville, Republic of Congo elected a UNESCO Creative City, designated the ‘City of Music’, and in doing so becomes the first African member of the Creative Cities Network launched by Unesco in 2004. [Image credit: Africa is Now – The Design Indaba Expo]

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African Inspired Textiles At Julie Kouamo London Pop Up 

[Image credits: Julie Kouamo Pop Up – taken by Tapiwa] Textile and interior accessories designer Julie Kouamo launched her first ever pop up store last night in London’s Camden, with a private view. Located at the Camden Collective, the pop up is open to the public from today 2nd October until Sunday 6th October. On display are Julie’s signature African inspired textiles collections across a range of soft furnishings, lampshades, wallpaper, wrapping paper, notebooks and furniture, with products available to purchase or place orders. Throughout the duration of the pop up Julie is on hand to discuss her collections and any […]

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The Best Of African Design At London Design Festival

September has been a good month for design lovers, and proved a great month for viewing some of the best contemporary African design as part of the London Design Festival. The earlier part of the month saw London-based textile designer Julie Kouamo exhibit her latest collection of lampshades at Bangou at one of Europe’s biggest trade events, Maison et Objet in Paris. The lampshades are the latest editions to the Bangou collection of African inspired textiles, which was debuted in January 2013. Meanwhile the prestigious London Design Festival (LDF), whose core events occurred between the 14th-22nd, brought with it London’s major trade shows shows and exhibitions, including 100% […]

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Digital by Design Interactive Sessions At The V&A

It has proved to be an exceptionally busy week, and I have been spending quite a bit of time either moderating, or thinking about issues surround creativity for Visible by Design’s Digital by Design sessions running simultaneously at the V&A’s Sackler Centre, the hub for the London Design Festival, and online. We have had attendees logging on from Kenya and Hungary and the sessions are open to anyone whether you are a creative or not, Wednesday session was joined by a medical student who brought her insight into how she uses creativity to the discussion.

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V&A Museum Visible by Design Inspirational Women Designers

The sports have finished and now London turns its attention to celebrating design when the annual London Design Festival kicks of with a series of events running from 14th September-23 September 2012. This year the event is marking ten years of celebrating design, and fittingly the central hub will be based at the dynamic V&A Museum, home to the award-winning Sackler Centre, whose space will see inspirational women designers coming together to discuss the creative process through a combined series of: design workshops in the Design Lab in partnership with (Global Color Research), interactive sessions in Digital by Design and inspirational talks in the […]

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Art In Action The Tentmakers of Cairo African Textile Art

Today sees the start of Art in Action a four-day annual celebration of art, artists and designers that has been running in the Oxfordshire countryside since 1977. Promoting diversity in creative disciplines, regions and cultures participation is by invite only and sees about 400 artists, designer makers, teachers, performers and musicians demonstrating and selling their creations to art lovers. Grouped into sections according to discipline. In the Commonwealth Art section Chapungu Sculpture Park is showcasing the work of, and presenting demonstrations from some of Zimbabwe’s master stone sculptors. Another section is the International Tent, which showcases artists drawn from across the globe and this […]

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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