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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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Africa By Design Inaugural Exhibition Launches In Ghana

  Exhibitions focusing on design from Africa continue to abound, with more countries outside the continent holding dedicated showcases. Whilst this is great to see, it is also important that the African continent also hold its own showcases to highlight the growing value of design to local audiences. One such initiative is Africa by Design in Ghana, which launched its inaugural self-titled exhibition presenting the work of 22 emerging and established African designers representing 6 countries from sub-Saharan Africa – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal.   [Main Image credit: Master Kente and Ewe Weaver, Bob Gandy – […]

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Ifeanyi Oganwu Furniture Design For Toghal African Inspired Textiles

  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.  

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Mimi Plange For Roche Bobois Classic West African Design Inspiration

  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 […]

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Reform Studio Creating Sustainable Egyptian Product And Furniture Design

Reform Studio is a sustainable Egyptian product and furniture design studio born out of a belief that design can help address challenging social issues, namely the problem of accumulating waste in Egypt. Reform Studio was founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem who along with design researcher Dina Amin started out by experimenting with various solutions and products to tackle the issue, and ended up creating Plastex, an award-winning eco-material made by weaving discarded plastic bags and threads. [Main image credit: Ahwa Collection – Reform Studio]

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Swoon Edition Milly Chair x Banke Kuku African Inspired Textiles Collaboration

It appears Swoon Editions is having a thing for African inspired textiles this summer. First there was Eva Sonaike followed a few of weeks later by Julie Kouamo, both of whose limited-edition collaborations sold out by the way. And now the latest collaboration sees the evocative Delta Sola textile from London-based designer Banke Kuku paired with Swoon Editions Milly Chair, and the effect is just stunning. [Main image credit: Milly Chair upholstered in Delta Sola Fabric, by Banke Kuku for Swoon Editions]

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Swoon Editions x Julie Kouamo African Inspired Textiles Collaboration

London-based textile designer Julie Kouamo has become the latest designer to collaborate with luxury online furniture and interiors retailer Swoon Editions. The collaboration sees Swoon Editions oak Gustavian-style Juliette Bench upholstered with Julie’s uplifting African inspired textiles, Nkunti. [Main image credit: Juliette Bench in Nkunti Fabric, Julie Kouamo for Swoon Editions]

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Swoon Edition Marley Foostool x Eva Sonaike African Inspired Textiles

Just spotted Swoon Editions‘ Marley Footstool collaboration with London-based textile designer Eva Sonaike. The luxury online furniture and interiors retailer has given one of its designs a spring refresh courtesy of Eva Sonaike’s Wewe fabric from the Aburi Collection. The vibrant pattern of the African inspired textiles feature a two-tone green banana leaf against a small banana leaf print background, and was inspired by a trip to Aburi Botanical Gardens in Ghana. The collaboration is part of Swoon Edition’s Designer Editions feature, which pairs one of their coveted furniture designs with talented textile designers. A new Designer Editions collaboration is unveiled each week and […]

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Farewell to Contemporary African Furniture Designer Babacar Niang

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned an exhibition opening on the 24th March in New York that would feature the work of Senegalese furniture designer Babacar Niang, amongst others. It is therefore with great sadness and shock that I just learnt of Babacar’s passing on the 25th March 2015. The contemporary African furniture designer, working through his studio Nulangee, possessed a unique design vision that brought forth sublime designs infused with his trademark lifelike qualities. A great talent, Babacar’s passing leaves a void in Africa’s burgeoning design industry, one that will be keenly felt. May you rest in peace […]

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Kassena Town Modern African Furniture Design At Grains Of Paradise

Tomorrow sees the opening of Grains of Paradise, an exhibition of contemporary African design from four of Africa’s leading design studios; Ardmore, Babacar Niang, Dokter and Misses and Porky Hefer. The exhibition is presented by New York’s foremost design gallery, R & Company in collaboration with Southern Guild. Especially created for the exhibition, South African furniture and product designers Dokter and Misses have expanded on their sought after Kassena Server design to encompass a visually arresting mini village of cabinets. With names like ‘Home’, ‘Watchtower’, ‘Horseman’ and ‘Sleep’ the collection pays homage to the architecture of the Kassena people of Burkina […]

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Kubaka A Luxury Collection Of Furniture Made In Africa

George Pericles is an innovative creative think tank operating between Paris and Kigali. In 2013 the company developed Kubaba, a contemporary collection of furniture made in Africa, inspired by Rwanda that works towards developing a local luxury vocabulary. [Image credit:  George Pericles] 

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Contemporary African Furniture Design Laduma Ngxokolo x Yinka Ilori

Last week’s Africa Utopia provided the opportunity to catch up with what was happening creatively in terms of design from and inspired by Africa. One design in particular that caught my attention was a chair comprising an upcycled frame in a matt silver finish, and knitted upholstery covered with striking geometric patterns, and a woven backrest also in matt silver. Radiating cool sophistication the piece of contemporary African furniture design was the result of a creative collaboration between British/Nigerian designer, Yinka Ilori and South African knitwear designer, Laduma Ngxokolo. The collaboration was commissioned by and formed part of the Africa Calling contemporary design […]

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Beautifully Engineered Craft Ifeanyi Oganwu Design Indaba Interview

Ifeanyi Oganwu is a young talented architect and designer whom I had the honour of profiling for a Design Indaba interview available on the online platform. Ifeanyi who works in London is the founder of the experimental design studio Expand Design. His furniture designs are attracting attention for their fluid, organic forms. Design Indaba is the South African based platform that drives a better world through creativity with its online platform and annual festival. To find out more about Ifeayni and his work please visit Design Indaba to read the full profile. [Image credit: Blue Splice – Expand Design]

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Sustainable Design Legacy Of Furniture Designer Baay Xaaly Sene

Cutting, hammering and soldering discarded metals such as train tracks, barrels and wheels, and turning them into elegant, stylish, collectable objects was the trademark of Senegalese artist and furniture designer Baay Xaaly Sene. The furniture designer, who died in October 2004, left behind a body of work that is sought after by discerning collectors for its pops of bright colours and contemporary classic forms that combine art and functionality. [Image credit: Moscow apartment of Russian designer, Dmitry Velikovsky showing Baay Xaaly Sene Armchair – Architectural Digest]

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South African Interior Design Truth Coffee’s Steampunk Inspired HQ

[Image credit: Truth Coffee Interior – Haldane Martin] The Steampunk aesthetic of science fiction with a dose of fantasy, and inspired by 19th-century Victorian industrial steam-powered machinery combined technology is proving an increasingly popular lifestyle culture, applied to everything from fashion to interiors. One such interior is that of Truth Coffee, a Cape Town-based café, coffee shop and dive bar whose fantastical interior transports you to the industrial workhouses of the Victorian era. Founded on an ethos of serving proper, fresh home-roasted coffee the team behind Truth Coffee sought a look and feel that would designer embody their philosophy, and collaborated […]

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Architect David Adjaye Furniture Collection For Knoll

‘…unless I truly loved it, there was no point in my doing it’, words that formed part of a pitch for the resulting David Adjaye furniture collection that saw London-based architect David Adjaye turn his hand to furniture design, producing his first collection in collaboration with iconic American furniture and fabric brand, Knoll. Currently celebrating 75 years of pioneering design, to mark the occasion Knoll sought to persuade two of the world’s leading architects; British-Ghanaian David Adjaye, and Dutch-born Rem Koolhaus into taking a brief detour from their usual work of redrawing skylines and taking on a spot of product design. Why the need for […]

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Dalia Sadany Contemporary Egyptian Furniture Design

Dalia Sadany is an Egyptian architect and interior designer who creates sophisticated, contemporary spaces for her residential and commercial sector clients. Dalia, provides a full service, design and build solution following the ancient, Master Builder approach to construction, a process which sees the architect retain responsibility for the project from conception to construction to handover. She also specialises in contemporary Egyptian furniture design.

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African Design Roots in Shimmering Sculptural Jewellery

Fluid, sculptural pieces formed out of shimmering gold and silver metals combined with African design are defining characteristics of Algerian designer, Taher Chemirik’s striking jewellery pieces, which include bold, oversized cuffs and giant links that form statement chokers. Hailing from a family of designers, Taher describes his upbringing as ‘unconventional’, and cites his sources of inspiration as being his African roots, Oriental sophistication, modern art, and the antiques he collects in Paris’ famed flea markets; the city he now calls home. [Image credit: Choker – Taher Chemirik/Artsy]

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Updating A Design Classic With African Decorating Style

I have seen this chair pop up on many a Pinterest board channelling ‘African Decorating Style’, and whilst I cannot say whether the upholstery of the chair was inspired by Africa, the use of cowhide is obviously what has made it a favourite selection for many gathering ‘African’ interior design inspiration.

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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