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Kenyan Artist Evans Mbugua For Chaumet Tresors D’afrique Jewellery Collection

Trésors d’Afrique translates as Treasures from Africa, and is an ode to past and present, culture and modernity presented in the form of luxury jewellery pieces by the prestigious French jeweller and watchmaker Chaumet in collaboration with Kenyan artist, Evans Mbugua who is based in Paris. Trésors d’Afrique is third and final destination in the Mondes du Chaumet collection, a globe-trotting journey through jewels that has taken in the splendours of Russia, and Japan. Chaumet is inspired by the coming together of different cultures that celebrate and honour majestic femininity to create new ideas, imagined by their master jewellers who continually […]

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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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Architect Ifeanyi Oganwu Branches Out Into Jewellery Design

  Ifeanyi Oganwu the Nigerian-born architect known for his organic shaped furniture designs has expanded into jewellery design with his debut collection for Elisabetta Cipriani. A London-based gallery that invites international artists, designers and creative’s to create contemporary jewellery pieces or limited edition series, which are then showcased by, and sold through the gallery.

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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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Luxury Africa Travel Underwater Adventures At The Manta Resort

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, of the Swahili coast is the remote Pemba Island forming part of the Zanzibar archipelago, and home to The Manta Resort a luxury Africa travel escape to a place that allows you to disconnect from the noise and pressures of modern life, inviting you instead to immerse yourself in the serenity that comes with nature and a simpler way of life.

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Interview With Souadou Barry of Fulani HB Luxury Handbags

Last year in March, I introduced Fulani HB luxury handbags and accessory line based in the US which utilises beautifully woven traditional Senegalese fabrics. I recently caught with the designer, Souadou Barry to chat about her latest Autumn/Winter collection, gaining an insight into her inspirations, processes, and the woman she designs for.

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Luxury Africa Travel To Dar HI – Eco-Lodge and Spa

In south Tunisia, one with find the historic town of Nefta, an area famed for it natural geological diversity, including thousands of date producing palm trees. The town is located between sand dunes and the salty plains of Chott el-Djerid, a setting film fans maybe familiar with, as the Nefta Desert was the location for Star Wars and the English Patient. Nefta is also home to the Dar HI, an ambitious luxury eco-Lodge and Spa development dedicated to ecological research and discovery, whilst nurturing body and soul, Opening its doors several years ago Dar HI is the result of a collaboration […]

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Luxury Africa Travel To Ngerende Island Lodge Kenya

Offering guests luxury in the Kenyan wilderness, Ngerende Island Lodge is a five-star luxury lodge situated on the Olchoro – Oirogua Conservation Ranch, bordering the northern part of Kenya’s famed Masai Mara game reserve. Located close to the Mara River, the Lodge is surrounded by water on all sides, bar a tiny passage that prevents it from completely becoming an island in the true sense of the word, but this does not take away from the feeling of indulgent isolation and wonder at being away from it all, in a place that is a four-hour drive from Nairobi. The Lodge, however, has its […]

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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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Azza Fahmy Egyptian Jewellery Brand Inspired By Culture And Tradition

7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jewellery brand, Azza Fahmy, whose elegant, statement designs you cannot help but visualise adorning the necks and wrists of Cleopatra and Nefertiti, Egypt’s legendary queens. Like the ancient culture that influences it the Azza Fahmy jewellery brand is elegant and regal, featuring handcrafted intricate detailing in gold and silver precious metals, and vibrant, shimmering gemstones, that help lend a contemporary edge. [Image credit: Six Strand Floral and Fruits Collection – Azza Fahmy]

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Luxury Africa Travel To Adrère Amellal Desert Eco-Lodge

No electricity meaning no lights, no TV and definitely no sockets to charge your phone/laptop/iPod or other media devices, Egyptian luxury eco lodge Adrère Amellal is the ultimate get-a-way from it all; an enchanting luxury Africa travel destination that blends into the spectacular setting of a desert oasis. [Image source: Adrère Amellal Eco Lodge via Kiwi Collection] 

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Luxury Africa Travel To The Red Pepper House Lamu

The historical island of Lamu off the Kenyan coast is home to The Red Pepper House, a stylish luxury Africa travel boutique hotel that nestles between Neem and Acacia trees, and interestingly not a Red Pepper tree in sight, the owner just liked the name. Situated close to the Old Town, The Red Pepper House brings together influences in the form of African, Arabic, Indian and European; that have all had an impact on Swahili Culture dating back hundreds of years. [Image credit: Dining – The Red Pepper House]

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Dar Leone Luxury African Home Decor And Global Style

A gem of an online destination, Dar Leone is dedicated to bringing you the best in globally influenced interior décor products and accessories, including a selection of luxury African home decor accessories. Based in London, Dar Leone was launched in June 2012 by Isatu Funna, a US attorney who is originally from Sierra Leone. For Isatu, Dar Leone is the fulfilment of a long held interest in African interior design; and inspired by global design in general the philosophy of Dar Leone is to offer luxury global traveller style for the home; achieved through a thoughtfully chosen selection of everyday and traditional products sourced from […]

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Banke Kuku Award Winning African Inspired Textiles

Inspired by a fusion of African and western culture Banke Kuku, is a luxury African inspired textiles and interiors accessories brand that specialises in innovative printed and woven textiles. Nigerian born and London-based; creative director and founder Banke Kuku, draws on her culture and heritage to create bespoke patterns and textiles rich with colour and texture. Her textiles have been used in the collections of some of the world’s leading designers including Duro Olowu, Jasmine di Milo, Burberry; and more recently Jewel by Lisa Spring/Summer 2012, which I previously featured here. [Image credit: Victorian Chairs – Banke Kuku]

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Aissa Dione Tissus Luxury African Textiles Designer

Businesses, schools, private residences, galleries, shops, hotels, workshops and studios opening up their spaces to hold exhibitions as part of the Dak’art OFF programme, brought the opportunity to meet with the artists and designers behind the works if you got your timing right. Opening the doors of her home was award-winning textile artist Aissa Dione Tissus, who was displaying the works of several artists in her elegant surroundings. Aissa was very welcoming and I was honoured to meet her; it was one of the many occasions I wished I spoke French, as there was so much I wanted to ask. Aissa […]

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Contemporary South African Architecture And Interior Design

Happily sitting with the curtains or blinds open long into the night I find lingering by a window gazing at the twinkling lights of the city at night, or snatching glimpses of the world going about its day is one of life’s simple pleasures. And is probably the reason that when it comes to contemporary architectural features; an expanse of glass giving the illusion of having no walls, just floor to ceiling windows in the form of movable glass doors is a dream feature. Opened or closed as you wish, glass walls are a stunning feature that work to seamlessly […]

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Bonana Van Mil Luxury African Inspired Fashion Accessories

I have a weakness for silk; its drape, delicateness, femininity and the way the fabric absorbs colour always reminds me of water colour paintings; so was instantly taken with some stunning geometrically patterned scarves from Paris-based textile designer, Bonana Van Mil, who debuted her eponymous accessories and fashion label in 2011 with the aptly titled Floating Dreams collection. Bonana’s scarves call to mind faraway landscapes from hot dry plains to lush verdant countryside’s; in the Luxe Wool 2 scarf I glimpse the familiar, details of the unpolished texture of hand moulded earthen pots; the reddish brown clay charred black in places […]

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Modern African Fashion Jewel By Lisa And Banke Kuku

Leading luxury modern African fashion brand, Jewel by Lisa was founded in 2005 by Lisa Folawiyo, a fashion lover whose sophisticated and glamourous style sees crystals, beads, sequins and other trimmings meticulously hand sewn onto Ankara fabrics, that are combined with linen, Chantilly lace, silk, taffeta, cotton and chiffon to create unique and sought after collections. Jewel by Lisa’s modern African fashion creations are all handcrafted and individually embellished, a process that can take about 120 hours, giving an insight into just how much work goes into the creation of a garment. Carrying the signature embellishment and Ankara prints, Lisa […]

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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