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The Baba Tree Basket Company

Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region is synonymous with basket weaving, and the distinctive round-bellied Bolga Market basket with its sturdy handles. Building on the region’s basket weaving heritage local business The Baba Tree Basket Company is producing some stunning gravity-defying basket designs, woven from locally sourced natural materials and dyed in vibrant colours.

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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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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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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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LIHA Beauty Inspired By West African Skin Care Traditions

  We have gone through a cold snap of late, the icy winter winds contrasted with the drying effects of central heating leaving skin feeling skin a bit distressed. Whether you are in a cold or hot climate, it is important to protect your skin as each season comes with its own set of challenges that can be harmful to exposed skin if you go not care for it properly. And with more of us shunning chemical laden products in favour of natural skin care ones it can be tricky to find natural products that are what they say they […]

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Monaa Luxury African Inspired Shoes Made In Ghana

Nothing says summer more than a pair of comfortable, yet chic sandals. And, with the summer holidays having officially started in this part of the world, many a pair will have been tucked away into luggage bound for sun soaked destinations. And, whether or not you are going away for the holidays, every wardrobe needs a pair or two, or three… So just in time for summer, July has seen the launch of Monaa, a stylish collection of luxury African inspired shoes comprising leather sandals and slippers made in Ghana. [Main image credit: Princess Slipper in blue – Monaa]

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A A K S Luxury Hand Woven Made In Africa Bags At Anthropologie

Made in Africa Luxury accessories label, A A K S was founded in 2014 by colour-obsessed designer, Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, whose passion for all things bright led to the creation of a chic range of handbags handcrafted in Bolgatanga, a region in northern Ghana famed for its longstanding basket weaving traditions. Through A A K S Akosua intended to capture the spirit and durability of this heritage, showcasing the hand weaving techniques to a global audience and in the process help support the artisans and communities the company works with by creating local jobs. A A K S works closely with […]

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Uplifting African Home Accessories And Furnishings

The New Year brings with it good intentions to think, do and be better mentally, physically and spiritually in work and play. Get of to a good start by surrounding yourself with inspirational quotes and ancient words of wisdom to help you along your way courtesy of Bespoke Binny, a London-based creator and retailer of uplifting African home accessories and furnishings. [Image credit: Wax print and African Proverb Cushion Collections – Bespoke Binny]

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Defining Luxury African Fashion Buki Akib Design Indaba Interview

Buki Akib’s luxurious style, influenced by West African textile traditions captures the imagination. The textiles and fashion accessories designer is defining Luxury African fashion. I recently caught up with the highly experimental designer to glean further insight into her work and inspirations. The full feature can be read on Design Indaba. [Main image credit: Buki Akib Menswear]

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Ohema Ohene Geo Africa Fashion Design Collection

[Image credit: Ohema Ohene, Laura Cape Dress – Oh! Printex Collection] In a departure from the colourful African print fabrics that usually define their collections, London-based fashion label Ohema Ohene’s recent geo Africa fashion design collection saw the adoption of a striking monochrome palette. Launched in July, the limited-edition capsule collection was produced in collaboration with textile company, Printex Ghana. Entitled OH! PRINTEX the collection celebrates Printex’s history of black and white prints through fun, wearable designs for both men and women.

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Stylish Heels MO SAÏQUE Luxury Handcrafted Footwear

Afua Dabanka is a woman after my own heart, she just loves her some shoes, with the difference being that whilst I just drool over whatever fabulousness comes my way, she gets to design and make them under her luxury handcrafted footwear label MO SAÏQUE. A banker turned footwear designer, Afua was born in Germany to Ghanaian parents and now resides in London, where MO SAÏQUE is based. [Images Credits: Hakuun, Miami Beat Collection – MO SAÏQUE]

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Shea Mooti Organic Baby Skin Care Products

[Image credit: Pampered Baby Sleep Kit, Gift Set – Shea Mooti] Based in London, Shea Mooti founder and former nurse, Violet Reid started making her own baby skin care products to treat the dry eczema-prone skin of her newborn son. Having found that baby skin care products, even if labeled natural and organic, often made her son’s skin condition worse, and Violet realised that the only way to ensure the products she used were pure was to make them herself. Violet enrolled in a natural soap-making course in 2007, where she learnt about the effects of certain ingredients; and more […]

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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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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 Sankofa Center African Print Textiles Inspiration

The Sankofa Center is a not-for-profit arts-based organisation in Ghana that uses traditional African dance and music to promote an understanding of HIV/AIDS within the communities in which it works with. To help support the Center’s programmes and services, a boutique was established that utilises the skills of a cooperative that was specifically set up by the Center to produce a range of products including; clothing, personal and household accessories made with African print textiles; the proceeds of which are invested back into the organisation. It was through one of their current stockists, VivaTerra, that I came across the Sankofa Center’s range […]

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Luxury Africa Travel Cruising Lake Volta with The Ohemaa LXI

Cruise the waters of Lake Volta in luxury Africa travel style by setting sail in the luxurious confines of the Ohemaa LXI, Ghana’s premier private yacht. Ohemaa means queen; a title appropriate for the stately yacht that mixes contemporary luxury with traditional Ghanaian culture; whilst the numerals, LXI represent the year in which the Volta River Project began- 1961. Having undergone renovation and refurbishment, the Ohemaa LXI is now offering its clientele a truly special experience from the moment you step on-board. [Image credit: The Ohemaa LXI]

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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