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African Furniture Design At Salone del Mobile 2018

  Salone del Mobile, the prestigious Italian furniture fair opens its doors today offering visitors the very best in international furniture design concepts. Salone del Mobile is also home to SaloneSatellite an event that spotlights promising young designers under 35 by giving them a platform to connect with manufacturers, buyers and talent scouts. Noted for launching the careers of designers such as Oki Sato of Nendo, this year’s SaloneSatellite theme is Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente and as such is presenting a group of designers representing both regions. Among those representing African design is Jomo Tariku, founder of […]

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Zyne Turning Traditional Babouches Into Modern Moroccan Footwear

Babouches are a Moroccan slipper style of footwear. In their traditional form, they can be found in abundance in souks across the country. A favourite of tourists, babouches have now made the transition from colourful travel mementos to high fashion having turned up on the international catwalks in recent years courtesy of local designers such as Zineb Britel and Laura Pujol founders of the luxury footwear brand, ZYNE who are tapping into their heritages to modernise and elevate the Moroccan footwear.  

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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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Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair Presents The 2017 Well Made In Africa Exhibitors

  Earlier this year, I was honoured to have been appointed the guest curator for the prestigious Sanlam Handmade Contemporary Fair’s Well Made in Africa showcase. 2017 introduces a new, exquisite selection of Well Made in Africa exhibitors from the continent under the curatorship of Tapiwa Matsinde, author of Contemporary Design Africa. Tapiwa presents a selection that is anchored in heritage & modernity. This year Sanlam HmC will host the work of a dynamic group of designers who have been chosen for their innovative use of Africa’s diverse craft heritages to create modern sophisticated products for contemporary living. And with […]

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Calling All Emerging Accessory Designers Enter The ABURY Design Experience

If you are passionate about designing and producing accessories that not only look good but have a positive impact, then it is not too late to enter the Abury Design Experience (ADEx) competition to be in with a chance to create a capsule accessories collection for the sustainable luxury accessory brand, Abury. Abury’s ethos is to combine traditional, old-world crafts with avant-garde design to create a new luxury style that fosters intercultural exchange and helps preserves world crafts. And, now in its second year, ADEx is an international design competition- held in partnership with Harper’s Bazaar Germany -that builds on […]

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Abury Ethical Luxury Where Old World Traditions Meet Cutting Edge Design

Abury is an ethical luxury fashion accessories brand whose ethos is one of combining old world traditions with cutting edge design to create a new style, one of timeless and authentic luxury. Abury is a response to mass production, inviting people to appreciate the beauty that is around them, to form emotional connections to the products they buy and to take the time to recognise the meaning of of true luxury that comes with tradition, time and care in production. Heritage, knowledge and wisdom are turned into timeless high quality products, that include bags, personal accessories and footwear for people […]

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Myriam Mourabit Contemporary Moroccan Ceramics

Award-winning ceramicist Myriam Mourabit creates exquisite Moroccan ceramics inspired by her country’s rich ceramic heritage. The designer who is based in Rabat, Morocco trained in Paris at the Duperré School of Applied Arts and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. She founded her company in 1998 and from her studio skillfully produces Moroccan ceramics collections that include: bowls, vases, tableware, furniture and interior fittings. [Image credit: Tagine Ceramics – Myriam Mourabit]

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Traditional Moroccan Artisanal Skills Meet French Style

The beauty of traditional Moroccan artisanal skills is combined with French style to create a range of contemporary North African inspired home decor including linens, soft furnishings, and interior accessories, under the brand Scènes de lin. Based in Marrakech, Scènes de lin was created by designer, and textile industry veteran Anne-Marie Chaoui, who in 2000 opened the doors to a beautifully appointed showroom in the district of Gueliz. Anne-Marie had relocated to Marrakech, inspired by the city and artisanal crafts of the city, and set up a local workshop working with highly skilled Moroccan artisans and craftsmen, in addition to employing […]

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African Interior Accessories Moroccan Kilim Textiles

Doing some research for a client I keeping spotting beautifully textured cushions made with Moroccan Kilim fabrics. Kilim fabrics are traditionally hand-woven to create carpets and rugs and have now been used to produce smaller items such as cushions and bags.  [Image credit: Kelim Cushions – Plümo]

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Royal Design Studio Chic Moroccan Inspired Wall Stencils

Wallpaper is not really my thing; I tend to find it quite fussy and would rather have smooth walls in a favourite colour or given a natural treatment. Its just that I always feel that wallpaper can date a room quite quickly, for me wallpaper always seems to conjure up hideous 70’s style decorating disasters; also growing up in Zimbabwe wallpaper was never a big thing as it is here in the UK. Having said that modern interpretations have led to some beautiful designs that provide temptation were I to have the walls to decorate. If however you are seeking […]

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Made.com Morocco Table Designer African Inspired Furniture

I couldn’t help but be transported to alfresco dining on a sun-drenched patio when I saw some simple yet striking coffee tables on Made.com a UK-based furniture and interiors e-tailer that works with select designers to create original furniture designs that are sold directly to customers at affordable prices by cutting out the middle man. Amongst the products the Morocco Coffee Table, an African inspired furniture design sporting a bold diamond cut-out pattern that runs a ring close to the table edge. The Morocco Coffee Table sits on hexagonal legs and was inspired by traditional Moroccan tray tables.

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Moroccan Interior Design Peacock Pavilions On Elle Decor

Maryam Montague is probably best known as My Marrakech, the inspirational blog she established documenting her life in Marrakech, Morocco running the boutique hotel Peacock Pavilions that is also her home; and which she designed, built and decorated from scratch with her architect husband Chris Redecke. You can take a peek into the Moroccan interior design and African decor accents in Peacocks Pavilions as the home is featured in the April issue of Elle Decor, which celebrates beautifully, decorated homes from around the world as part of their international issue. [Image credit: Peacock Pavilions Guest Bedroom – Simon Upton/Elle Decor]

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Beldi Moroccan Interior Accessories Traditional Ceramics

I love pretty ceramics; so ideal for adding quick, interchangeable bursts of pattern and colour throughout the home and whilst browsing beautifully stylish blog, AphroChic I came across a posting featuring new online store Beldi, which is introducing customers to the authentic, Moroccan interior accessories and way of living. Visiting the website I spotted these gorgeously patterned plates and bowls, hand painted and hand glazed by artisans in Safi, a place renowned for its skillful pottery creations. The spirals on the ‘Spiral Safi bowls’ are based on the ancient Berber symbol for eternity, said to be a common symbol throughout Morocco. The intricate patterns, often […]

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L’Occitane Packaging Inspired By West African Print Textiles

Escaping the crowds on Regent Street I ducked into L’Occitane in search of a few moments of respite. When it’s comes to tourist attractions London’s Regent Street is notoriously congested. I have been spending quite bit of the time in the area due to a current assignment and most lunchtimes have literally found myself doing battle as I try to make my way along… frustration is not the word, but in an attempt to avoid the crowds have found myself wandering off the beaten track, discovering some quiet oases in the process. One day however I wasn’t quite as lucky and got […]

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Cobra Society Boots And North African Kilim Textiles

The latest print issue of Vogue UK has an interesting article on the rise of a new breed of entrepreneur that they’ve called ‘globalists’; trend-setters who combine fair trade principles with business savvy whilst scouring the world for exciting new products that celebrate craft and heritage and marrying them with contemporary styling to create a fresh, modern and exciting product. Amongst the featured profiles was that of Cobra Society’s Alex Davis, whose debut Autumn/Winter 2011 collection of Western style boots with North African Kilim textiles was snapped up by Net-a-Porter.

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Luxury Africa Travel To Jnane Villas In The Heart Of Marrakech

I once read somewhere a statement to the effect that Meryanne Loum-Martin lives the kind of life women dream about*. After a first visit to Marrakech in 1985 Meryanne, a French lawyer of Senegalese and West Indian descent was captivated by the city returning many times over several years, along with her husband Dr Gary Martin; and eventually gave in to the creative spirit within that was fighting to get out. A self taught interior designer, Meryanne set about restoring run down riads in the city turning them into amazing boutique hotels oozing the cultural charm of Morocco. Husband Gary, […]

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Nessa Luxury Moroccan Inspired Jewellery Design

I have a preference for silver jewellery, so rarely wear or purchase yellow gold jewellery, and although the beautiful finely detailed work of Paris-based jeweller Vanessa Mimran are tempting enough to persuade me to change my mind, there is the option to choose white gold. Vanessa launched her company Nessa in 2006, creating jewellery characterised by 18carat gold filigree work enhanced with diamonds and gemstones, resulting in a very feminine collection of luxury jewellery.  [Image credit: Nessa – CoutureLab]

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Modern African Food Moroccan Chef Hassan M’Souli

Moroccan chef, Hassan M’Souli has been tantalising the taste buds of Australians in New South Wales, since arriving on the shores of Sydney from Casablanca in 1985. Opening the door of his award winning restaurant ‘Out of Africa’ in 1995, Hassan cites being in his mother’s kitchen from a young age as the source of his passion about cooking and creating modern African food; and Sydney provided the opportunity to introduce a new and unique taste to the local dining experience. [Image credit: Argan Oil – Out of Africa]

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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
  • Instagram Image
  • 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