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 part of shaping the story, and at the same time giving you a window into what is happening on the ground through the video’s electric montage of music events, fashion shows, street festivals workshops and more.

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Sustainable Egyptian Product And Furniture Design

Ahwa Collection - Reform Studio
Reform Studio is a sustainable Egyptian product and furniture design studio born out of a belief that design can help address challenging social issues, namely the problem of accumulating waste in Egypt. Reform Studio was founded by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem who along with design researcher Dina Amin started out by experimenting with various solutions and products to tackle the issue, and ended up creating Plastex, an award-winning eco-material made by weaving discarded plastic bags and threads.
[Main image credit: Ahwa Collection – Reform Studio]
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Modern Islamic and North African Interior Design Inspiration

Visiting 100% Design in early autumn I came across Mica, a gallery and interiors design company that specialises in modern Islamic and North African interior design and contemporary arts. Based in the UK Mica was founded in 2009 by Reedah El-Saie. At 100% Design, and also Decorex, Reedah launched Mica’s debut contemporary Islamic home interiors collection entitled ‘MICA Zen’. The collection is rooted in traditional Islamic art & architecture and centres on the point of infinity, embodying the principles of beauty and balance. Reedah sought to fuse Eastern holistic designs with Western creativity to create a stylish collection of Islamic and North African interior design that addresses the needs of modern day living.
[Main mage credit: Mica Zen Interiors Collection – Mica]
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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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Dalia Sadany Contemporary Egyptian Furniture Design

Dalia Sadany is an Egyptian architect and interior designer who creates sophisticated, contemporary spaces for her residential and commercial sector clients. Dalia, provides a full service, design and build solution following the ancient, Master Builder approach to construction, a process which sees the architect retain responsibility for the project from conception to construction to handover. She also specialises in contemporary Egyptian furniture design.
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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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Egypt Based Artist Gavin Worth Freestanding Wire Sculptures

It took me a heartbeat before I realised that what I was looking at was not in fact large-scale line drawings on a stark white wall, but instead freestanding wire sculptures that look like someone just took a pencil and started sketching in mid air. The evocative, three-dimensional drawings are the work of Egypt based artist Gavin Worth, whom I came across a few days ago courtesy of Aphro Chic.

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Jeanne Habashi Le Caire Egyptian Beauty Skin Care

Ancient Egyptians were among the early pioneers of cosmetology as they continually sought ways to enhance beauty, and preserve youthful appearances in a society where physical appearance was of paramount importance and whose women were fame for their beauty. Plants and natural ingredients were used to create Egyptian beauty skin care products that included moisturisers and anti-wrinkle creams, and over four thousand years later have inspired a premium luxury skin care line; Jeanne Habashi – Le Caire.
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Art In Action The Tentmakers of Cairo African Textile Art

Today sees the start of Art in Action a four-day annual celebration of art, artists and designers that has been running in the Oxfordshire countryside since 1977. Promoting diversity in creative disciplines, regions and cultures participation is by invite only and sees about 400 artists, designer makers, teachers, performers and musicians demonstrating and selling their creations to art lovers. Grouped into sections according to discipline. In the Commonwealth Art section Chapungu Sculpture Park is showcasing the work of, and presenting demonstrations from some of Zimbabwe’s master stone sculptors. Another section is the International Tent, which showcases artists drawn from across the globe and this year representing Africa is Jump for Timbuktu, an organisation that will be demonstrating traditional Tuareg silversmithing techniques presented by Mohamed Alher and Mohamed Almaloud; and African textile art artists who belong to the group of legendary Tentmakers of Cairo; Hosam Hanafy Ahmed Mahmoud and Tarek Abdelhay Hafez Abouelenin whose grandfather started their family’s tent making tradition. Recently I have been hearing quite a bit about the Tentmakers of Cairo, whose intricately decorated wall hangings were traditionally used to decorate the interiors of majestic tent pavilions, known locally as suradeq.
[Image credits: The Tent Makers of Cairo, Wall Hangings Detail – Art in Action]
Tent making is an ancient craft traditionally passed down from father to son working in Cairo’s Street of Tentmakers, which is today one of the city’s last remaining roof-covered ancient streets. Traditionally the tents are plain on the outside, but upon entering you are greeted with floor to ceiling coverings filled with the exquisite patterns, colours and textures of painstakingly hand appliquéd cloth. Tent making is said to be a dying art, there used to be thousands of men creating the appliqué but this has gradually dwindled to little more than a hundred. Visitors to the area can purchase the wall hangings and coverings. Art in Action is an inspiring event and having taken part a couple of years ago, I came back rejuvenated.
…Another dimension to African textile art
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