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African Christmas Decorations And Christmas Wishes

If, and I’m guessing that’s a big if, you have yet to put up and dress your Christmas tree, let these colourful hand beaded African Christmas decorations provide some decorative inspiration. The baubles are handmade by artisans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa using tiny glass seed beads and 100% copper wire. Using a real hen’s egg as the base form, the artisans skilfully employ traditional Zulu beading techniques to create intricate patterns in a number of sparkling colourways. These African Christmas decorations are also perfect for Easter tables, or simply place in a glass bowl or vase for an eye-catching centrepiece. I came across the […]

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Zenza Mesmerising Egyptian Lamps And North African Decor

A trip to Egypt looking for interesting accessories for a new home accessories business called Zenza led to, not only a bag full of samples, but also a blossoming romance. Fast forward twenty years and Karin, who founded the company, together with her partner Hussein have grown the business into an inspiring boutique of beautifully crafted interior and personal products. From enticing jewel brights to shimmering metals Zenza’s collections include woven home textiles, exquisitely carved furniture, tableware, vases; and embellished mirrors, jewellery boxes, purses, and slippers inspired by craft cultures including north African decor.

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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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East African Print Kanga Cloth Lamps And Pendants

Recently introduced to Primitive Modern Arts, a Los Angeles-based gallery and boutique, I was taken with the vibrant, colourful East African print Kanga cloth lamps and pendants dotted around the space. Made by Wamuhu Waweru, the founder of Primitive Modern Arts, or PriMo Arts as it is also known, the lighting have an air of festivity about them, quite apt for the space in which they are displayed. A designer, stylist and event producer, Wamuhu set-up PriMo Arts in the summer of 2012, and has just celebrated the gallery’s first year in existence. [Image credits: Light Pendants, Lamps, and Fabrics – […]

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Indego Africa Design-Led Traditionally Inspired Rwandan Handicrafts

Design-led aesthetics and and sustainable social enterprise combine to form Indego Africa; an inspirational US- and Rwandan-based organisation working to affect lasting positive change in the lives of those it works with. Offering interior and personal decor and accessories Indego Africa is helping to bring to market beautiful traditionally inspired handicrafts given a contemporary edge. Focusing on women-owned businesses in Rwanda, Indego Africa has partnered with nine cooperatives in a combined total of over four hundred women artisans, skilled in disciplines such as basketry, knitting, sewing and beading; producing stylish seasonal collections of brightly coloured baskets, intricately woven bowls, cushions, clothing, jewellery […]

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Hillary Thomas Made In Africa Telephone Wire Lamp Finials

[Image credits: Zulu Love Train Lamp Finials Collection – Hillary Thomas Designs] Give your lamps and light fittings a touch of contemporary African design with a range of colourful lamp finials from US-based interior design company, Hillary Thomas Designs that are made in Africa. I must admit it took me a while to figure out how a lamp finial works; more common in older style lamps and light fittings, finials are the metal bit that attach the shade to the light socket element, and for a personalised touch can have decorative elements added to the top part, which when placed in the lamp […]

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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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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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Hand Decorated Cabinets Inspired By African Design Elements

I stumbled upon these amazingly decorated, hand-painted cabinets by Argentinean artist, Lucas Risé. Visually stimulating, the cabinets are a riot of colour, pattern and texture, with several of the designs drawing inspiration from elements of African design and culture; from basketry to motifs. ‘Somewhere in Africa’, brings together elements of the different countries and regions visited during Lucas’ travels across Africa; whilst ‘African Whimsical’ pays homage to the traditional neck ornaments worn by women in the Continent’s mid-western regions. The ‘Carrousel’ cabinet, in particular reminds me of the Yoruba beaded chairs I have featured previously. The design sees the application of 21,000 metal studs […]

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The Khumbulani Collection African Home Decor Accessories

  Hand-sculpted by The Khumbulani Collection in collaboration with artist Julie Leakey, ostrich egg shells are turned into decorative South African home decor accessories; tea light holders, that when lit up with a candle give off a warm soft glow, and would be perfect as table centrepieces, or placed on ledges and in recesses to light up dark nooks. Beautiful in its simplicity the tactile shape and natural texture of the shell outer, is enhanced with the smooth shaped edge. The Ostrich egg laying season is a short one, and combined with the fact that ostrich numbers have declined in recent years, the […]

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African Home Decor Brightly Coloured Kente Strip Furnishings

A couple of weeks ago the view from the window was one of brilliant white following the snow that fell across much of the UK. A pretty picture perfect landscape at first, soon started to get a bit monotonous and I found myself subconsciously drawn to colour, pattern and texture in the form of cushions covers from Our Talking Hands. From brightly coloured Kente strips, to vibrant, clashing batik and wax cloth patterns of the vibrant African home decor it took me from one extreme to another, providing a colourful pick-me-up. [Image credits: Cushion Covers – Our Talking Hands]

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Modern African Interior Design Inspiration And Craft

Flipping through the latest issue of House & Garden UK (February 2013) I came across a design editorial showcasing modern African design and craft. Co-ordinated by decoration editor, Gaby Deeming, bold bright colours, graphic prints, textures and handicrafts are combined for a modern take on African interior design inspiration. Products used to pull the looks together include leading contemporary African designers and producers; beaded cushions from Soboye; Eva Sonaike’s distinctive, signature fabrics in the form of pouffes, cushions, notebooks, upholstered armchairs, as well as lining walls; woven telephone wire bowls in contrasting graphic swirling patterns from Zenzulu; striped black and white beaded animals from Monkeybiz; and an African print umbrella […]

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Modern African Safari Chic Style Camping Stools

For those who prefer ‘glamping’ to camping, these beautifully crafted camp stools, from US-based home decor wholesaler Global Views, are just the thing to bring a touch of colourful contemporary glamour to modern African Safari Chic style. [Image credits: Camp Stools – Global Views]

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Urban Africa Beaded Tableware African Home Accessories

The humble stainless steel teaspoon is given a twist with the addition of colourful glass seed beads tightly wrapped around the handle with non-toxic silver wire. The teaspoons are part of a range of African home accessories and beaded cutlery from UK -based retailer, Urban Africa, and come as a set of four, available in five colour combinations. Other items to choose from include stainless steel cake forks; silver plated cake slice lifters and napkin rings; and tiny glass salt and pepper shakers; all of which are complemented with a range of styles that include full beading, double strand or straight line […]

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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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India Hicks Indigo Dyed Linens For African Decor Inspiration

Just spotted these indigo dyed napkins currently retailing on the India Hick’s website. Whilst I cannot say if they were actually inspired by African indigo’s (they could just as easily be Japanese Shibori), I am instantly reminded of the centuries old dyeing tradition that can be attributed to countries like Mali and Nigeria. Made with linen, the napkins come as a set of four each; with its own individual pattern. The napkins are a great accessory for those looking to add some African decor inspiration to their table settings. [Image credit: Indigo Napkin Set – India Hicks]  

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West Elm Contemporary South African Design And Decor

West Elm is a Brooklyn based company whose Autumn 2012 collaboration collections see a range of African design and decor produced in collaboration with some of South Africa’s leading interior furniture and accessories designers and producers. A recent visit to South Africa saw the company work with fifteen South African design studios, and one from Swaziland to produce a range of products bursting with colour, shape and texture that will brighten up the interior once the darker days set in. Some of the designers; Imiso, Gone Rural, John Vogel and Wola Nani, I have previously featured on African Daydreams; others are new discoveries such as Pedersen […]

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Iman Deco Patio Furniture Inspired by West African Weaving

I recently received a request asking for help with finding African or African inspired furniture and interior accessories, in particular patio furniture and during my research came across the designs of French based company Iman Deco, whose colourful and skillfully woven product ranges include casual tables, chairs, benches, runners, trays and handbags that reference West African weaving traditions. Handcrafted in Togo in partnership with local artisans, Iman Deco was launched in 2000 by Parisian designer Michèle Nexer, who sought to combine contemporary and retro style inspiration with traditional West African weaving techniques. [Image credit: Iman Deco Hoop Chair via MeubleSoLoft] 

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Interior Decor Accessories Handcrafted African Candles

In the mountainous countryside of the Kingdom of Swaziland a disused cowshed in a former dairy was turned into a candlemaking workshop that has become a local tourist attraction as visitors from all over the world stop by to see the production process, and array of unique handcrafted African candles. Whether round or triangular, animal or fruit; carved or hand painted Swazi Candles are created and finished by hand meaning no two will be the same. [Image credits: Swazi Candles]

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  • This popular Africanisim beautifully illustrates the pioneering spirit of togethernes. It highlights how working and collaborating with others can propel you to new heights. Building a business rarely happens in isolation. Atelier Fifty Five seeks to to shine the light on African brands, and this includes extending a hand by sharing our knowledge and expertise to help African brands become the best they can be. So let us go together. Sign up to the Atelier Fifty Five Academy mailing list and join a community of ambitious creative business owners dedicated to creating brands that make their audiences sit up and take notice.⁣
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.  #quotes #inspirationalquotes #motivationalquotes #africanproverb #brandstrategy #creativeentrepreneur  #entrepreneur #mycreativebiz  #brandbuilding #africanstartup #africanbusiness #makeithappen
  • Preserving traditional skills the Kayla cushion by Frida 54 highlights the art of Tritik, a process of knotting and sewing that results in a variety of symmetric patterns. Handwoven with 100% cotton from the cotton mills of northern Cameroon the textiles are dyed with handmade dyes using ancestral techniques. [📷 credit: @frida_54 ]
  • Values . Respecting the design [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • Infuse your interior style with the colourful elegance of African beaded necklaces courtesy of The African Woven Necklace light shade by @moderngesture. The design features graduating circular hoops each hand wrapped with colourful woven thread bands. Handcrafted in Cape Town, South Africa by designer Candice Lawrence, the lighting is available in the  Atelier Fifty Five shop. [📷 credit: @atelierfiftyfive]
  • 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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Instagram @ atelierfiftyfive