In her beautifully presented and insightfully written new book, Contemporary Design Africa, British/Zimbabwean designer, writer and blogger, Tapiwa Matsinde, showcases the work of some of the most creative, inspirational contemporary designers, artisans and cooperatives from across the African continent. Many of the talented women who are leading the way in developing Africa’s contemporary design industries take centre stage.
Africa’s flourishing contemporary design scene is revealed for the first time through the vision and craftsmanship of some of the most inspirational designers, makers and crafters on the continent. Dynamic, diverse, innovative: this is contemporary Africa, a continent where countless intricately layered stories abound. In the twenty-first century its designers are eschewing romanticised, clichéd interpretations of the continent’s creative heritage in favour of compelling visual narratives.
"Africa is a continent clearly demonstrating that democratic design and luxury are no longer mutually exclusive, as the rate of social change catches up with newfound consumer priorities. And now is its time to shine."
- Henrietta Thompson, The Telegraph article "Out of Africa", 13 March 2015
In her newly published book, Contemporary Design Africa, author Tapiwa Matsinde captures the vitality and soulfulness shaping design from Africa in this first ever survey of the scene. Offering an inspirational challenge to rigid perceptions of what design from Africa looks like, and focusing primarily on interior decoration, the book presents fifty designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora, all of whom are creating sophisticated and innovative products for interiors. Organised thematically by craft - textiles, ceramics and basketry to furniture, lighting and beyond – the profiles of individual designers offer revealing insights into design development on the continent and the glossary of terms and resource guide at the back of the book are invaluable for those new to the featured techniques and methods but wanting to delve further into the subject. The thematic product showcase is contextualised by the Tapiwa’s insightful introduction and an essay on the history of design, craft and making in Africa, which offers additional perspectives on the designers reinterpreting traditional methods and styles in beautiful and highly individual ways.
Some of the most inspirational and talented contemporary women designers, makers and crafters who are making their highly individual mark on the global design industry are featured in the book. These include:
Madwa (Madagascar, Swaziland, South Africa) – artisan organization run by women for women
Frances Potter and the New Basket Workshop (Zimbabwe and South Africa) – a network of women-owned basket weaving cooperatives
Tintsaba – (Swaziland) basket weaving organization
Marisa Fick-Jordaan ZENZULU™ (South Africa)
Zizipho Poswa, Imiso (South Africa)
Jade Folawiyo (British/Nigerian)
Marjorie Wallace of Mutapo (Zimbabwe)
Katy Taplin, Dokter and Misses (South Africa)
Joëlle le Bussy, Galerie Arte (Senegal)
Josephine Forson, Tekura (Ghana)
Michou Osterwald, Michou Bowls (South Africa)
Swaady Martin-Leke, Yswara (South Africa)
Aïssa Dione (Senegal)
Banke Kuku (Nigeria/UK)
Bonana van Mil (Botswana/France)
Dar Leone (Sierra Leone/UK)
Eva Sonaike (Nigeria/UK)
Julie Kouamo (Cameroon/UK)
Mariem Besbes (Tunisia)
Ronel Jordaan (South Africa)
Tracy Rushmere and Heidi Chisholm, Shine Shine (South Africa)
Skinny laMinx (South Africa)
Aida Duplessis, Yéleen (Mali)
Yemi Awosile (Nigeria/UK)
Whilst contemporary art and fashion from Africa have gained widespread attention in recent years with several books published on these subjects, Contemporary Design Africa fills a large gap in the market. Revealing the rich possibilities being explored by a new generation of Africa’s creators, this is a comprehensive introduction and a source of inspiration for culturally curious designers, makers and interior enthusiasts everywhere.
About the author
Tapiwa Matsinde is a British-born designer, creative business consultant, blogger and writer of Zimbabwean heritage. She has worked as a graphic designer and a brand guardian in corporate communications for leading international organizations.
Tapiwa created the blog Atelier fifty-Five, as a platform to celebrate and promote design from and inspired by Africa. She has written features about, and interviewed some of the Africa’s leading designers and makers.
Tapiwa’s first book; Contemporary Design Africa was published on 25 May 2015 by leading art book publishers Thames & Hudson, and profiles approximately 51 designers and makers working on the African continent and beyond.
Contact or follow Tapiwa and Atelier Fifty-Five
- Dar Leone Tropic Marine_lo – © Dar Leone
- Ile Tableware - Jade Folawiyo_lo – © Jade Folawiyo
- Shine Shine_lo - © Peter H. Maltbie for Shine Shine
- The New Basket Workshop - © TNBW and India’s National Institute of Design
- YSWARA - pot set_lo.jpg - © YSWARA
- Zenzulu Baskets_lo - © Angela Buckland for ZENZULU™
Why LoA loves it….
In Contemporary Design Africa, Tapiwa Matsinde has truly captured the unique spirit of the exciting contemporary design scene in Africa, and with it, the women who are piquing the world’s interest and attention through their work. This dynamic new generation of African women in design are presenting the continent’s vibrant design scene through a new lense, and as a result, opening the world’s eyes to a new creative aesthetic. What is so refreshing is that many of these women also share a deep concern for community and creative skills development in their countries, and are often change-makers in terms of revitalising ancient crafts and techniques. They are helping to drive a new contemporary design spirit on the continent and one that holds opportunities for new generations of young designers, makers and crafters to follow in their footsteps. This book presents the opportunity for the world to see that new contemporary design spirit at first-hand and to get to know the women who are behind it. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa