I recently guest-wrote an article for Atelier 55 (we will run this on the blog later on in the year), which sums up that African design is the ‘New Black’. At Maison & Objet there were many African influences present this season and it is definitely official, since the Swedish furniture giant IKEA announced at Design Indaba in South Africa earlier this month that it is launching its first African collection in 2019, collaborating with African designers from across the continent.
Marcus Engman, Design Manager at IKEA says: “The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world. Working together with these designers and creatives gives us the opportunity to do so.”
So IKEA has teamed up with a group of designers, architects, artists and creatives from South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, Angola, Ivory Coast and Rwanda to collaborate and produce a series of domestic objects. Designers include Bethan Rayner and Naeem Biviji (Kenya), Bibi Seck (Senegal), Issa Diabaté (Ivory Coast), Selly Raby Kane (Senegal) and Laduma Ngxokolo (South Africa).
The designers are all part of the South African multifaceted platform Design Indaba´s network. Comprising a world-renowned Conference, an online publication, a Social DoTank and an annual Festival of Creativity, Design Indaba has become a respected institution in the global creative landscape. In 22 years, the Design Indaba Conference has grown to become one of the world’s leading design events, hosting more than 55 speakers and over 5000 delegates annually.
It is affirming that the world’s biggest furniture and homeware store partners with African designers to curate their first African collection in 2019 and yes, it if official ‘African design is the new Black’!