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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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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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Making Africa A Continent of Contemporary African Design

This spring the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, will be holding a major exhibition showcasing the diverse expressions of contemporary African design emerging from the continent. Entitled Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, the work on display will encompass a range of diverse creative disciplines such as fine arts, graphic design, illustration, film, photography, architecture and urban planning. [Main image credit: The Guy with Style, Mário Macilau – Vitra Design Museum]

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Yemi Awosile Journey Into An African Inspired Textiles Soundscape

Also on display at Africa Utopia was a new body of work by London-based textile designer Yemi Awosile. Inspired by her Nigerian heritage Yemi set out to explore the relationships between sound, textiles and space. Entitled Lagos, the African inspired textiles soundscape installation saw Yemi design a collection of printed textiles that give a physical form to sound. Incorporating audio components, the textiles make use of a combination of sound conductive and non-conductive materials to present a sound piece by Nigerian sound and video artist Emeka Ogboh Yemi called ‘UnderBridge’. Available to listen on Yemi’s website, the recording was taken from Lagosoundscape; a […]

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Africa Utopia Festival 2014 Celebrating African Creative Culture

Africa Utopia, the festival celebrating the diversity in African creative culture returns to London’s Southbank Centre this week. Taking place over four days from Thursday 11 September 2014 – Sunday 14 September 2014, the festival is a celebration of arts and culture from Africa and the African Diaspora. From concerts to art installations the festival looks at how African art and ideas changing the world for the better, enabling visitors to explore areas including culture, community, technology, fashion, sustainability and ethical wealth creation. There will also be the Africa Utopia Food Market, and Market Place offering art, homeware, fashion and accessories […]

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Engaging Spaces And Developing Contemporary African Architecture

Diébédo Francis Kéré is a pioneering German-based architect, whose work seeks to bring together the best of African and European architectural methods. Born and raised in Burkina Faso, upon completing school the architect was awarded a scholarship to Germany where he initially studied as a supervisor in the context of development aid. After a period of apprenticeship Diébédo Francis then went on to study architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, before founding his practice, Kéré Architecture. Having also founded a not-for-profit organisation, Schulbausteine für Gando, loosely translated as ‘Bricks for Gando’, upon graduation Diébédo Francis returned home to Gando, the village he was […]

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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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Inaugural 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair In London

One of the largest art fairs in the world, Frieze, officially starts to tomorrow bringing to London a host of prominent global collectors. Alongside the fair, which is held at Regent’s Park, a selection of the world’s leading galleries set up shop in the city, holding special shows in a bid to capture some of the Collectors’ attention. Making its debut at Frieze week, today sees the start of 1:54, the inaugural Contemporary African Art Fair, which is being held in the West Wing of the prestigious cultural institution, Somerset House. Visitors can view, and purchase contemporary African art from […]

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Graphic Africa Celebrating Contemporary African Design

Heralded as being the first exhibition of its kind in London, September 14th saw the opening of Graphic Africa a thought-provoking showcase and insight into the emergence of innovative diverse contemporary African design aesthetics and all round creativity currently sweeping across the Continent. Highlighting that contemporary African design is offering something different and fresh to the international design market, the exhibition has generated something of a media buzz, and the impact of the exhibition not only for visitors but the designers themselves has been good to see.  [Image credit: Dokter and Misses Kassena Server taken by Tapiwa]

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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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Piece South African Jewellery And Adornment Exhibition

Some of South Africa’s top creative talent have come together to create a stunning range of contemporary South African jewellery and other adornment in an exhibition entitled ‘Piece’, a pioneering brand that is active in the handicraft sector with a focus on business training, product development and creating sustainable business. Working extensively throughout the Southern African region, the idea for Piece was born when founder Eugenie Drakes, who was attending a workshop at Ngwenya Glass Blowers in Swaziland, met and asked ceramist Andile Dyalvane of Imiso Ceramics, to make some ceramic beads for her. Upon receiving some sample beads the team at […]

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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