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It is with great shock and sadness that I learned about the death of the designer and artist Kossi Aguessy on 17th April 2017 on what was his 40th birthday. Having first discovered and featured his work on the website in 2011, I later had the privilege of interviewing him for a Design Indaba profile. The exchange was both fascinating and insightful as he shared his hopes and visions for future projects.


A talent gone too soon Aguessy was a visionary designer and artist, this being evident not only in his commercial work but also in his art: paintings and larger than like aluminium sculptures that included reimagining’s of traditional African masks and figurines. Of African Brazilian and Togolese Yoruba heritage, Aguessy was born in Togo, raised in the US and lived in Paris, New York and London where he based his design practices. And these diverse experiences greatly influenced his work, which seamlessly crossed creative disciplines and cultures, and often referencing Africa’s rich cultural heritage combined with the precision and perfection of a futuristic outlook . He often described himself as:


“a child of Africa, who pays no attention to the boundaries being then the son of a global education with deep multicultural roots.” – Kossi Aguessy


In his professional career Aguessy designed products for the likes of Coca Cola, Swarovski, Yves Saint-Laurent and Cartier to name a few, and his most recognisable design is perhaps that of the award-winning Stella by Stella McCartney perfume bottle. But despite being highly sought after and working for these big names, Aguessy, never forgot his roots. He was an active supporter of African design working, with a number of organisations and brands. Notable projects included designing a monument celebrating the 50th anniversary of the independence of Togo. Aguessy’s work was also included in a number of major exhibitions including Making Africa, Vitra Design Museum and Global Africa, Museum of Arts and Design, New York.


Kossi Aguessy - Stella by Stella McCartney perfume bottle

[Stella by Stella McCartney]


Kossi Aguessy i-doll-2-sun

[I Doll – The Sun – series by Kossi Aguessy]


[“The Guardian” monument commissioned to commemorate Togo’s 50th independence anniversary]

Previous Known as Love, 2016, matte white coated polished aluminium

[Previous Known as Love, 2016, matte white coated polished aluminium – Kossi Aguessy]


Kossi Aguessy leaves behind a body of work that will undoubtedly inspire generations to come.


– Tapiwa


To learn more about Kossi Aguessy you can visit Shoko Press to read the full interview I did with him in 2015.


[Image credit: The images shown belong to Kossi Aguessy. If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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