Beyond Textiles: Contemporary African Design

Fusion home décor celebrating modern African art and traditional craftsmanship.

West African artisans have long been celebrated for traditional textiles and craftsmanship. Yet, as demonstrated by the rising international profile of artists like Paa Joe, so, too, changes the paradigm of how we view modern African design. Often conceptualized as “indigenous patterns and embroidery” in interior design – conversation fodder for our inner Hemingway – these forward-looking designs are made for the contemporary market, as at home internationally and at tradeshows as the most minimalist of Scandinavians.

Here are a few examples sourced from AfricaNow!, a network of companies that exports African designed products for the home. They feature a range of eco-friendly collections made from recycled materials, organically grown local cotton, and kindly sourced wood.

Designer Ousmane Mbaye, for example (a former refrigerator mechanic in Senegal) welds with recycled metal from old oil drums.

By Hamed Ouattara from Burkina Faso, who has said of his work: “[The] African continent suffers from imports…which do not reflect our culture. My work makes a difference in people’s living room[s] and modern African sound design.”

From TEKURA, a family business in Accra, Ghana specializing in contemporary African furniture and décor pieces.

From Gallery Arte Dakar in Dakar, Senegal. Curator Joëlle le Bussy provides a mix of African and European styles, a reflection of her own African and European descent.

For more, visit Africa Now!

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.