It’s that time of the year again when Lagos begins its burning cycle, full of the heat of arts and cultural events. Design Week Lagos 2022 (20-23 October) – fostering the growth of the design industry and uniting thousands of creatives across several cities in the continent – kicked off a season that also includes Lagos Fashion Week (26-29 October), Africa International film festival (AFRIFF – 6-12 November), and Art X Lagos (4-6 November).
This year marks the third edition of Design Week Lagos, a fair that was established in 2019 by Titi Ogufere and promotes creativity and innovation within and beyond West Africa. The 2022 event was curated by Ogufere with the theme ‘Beyond The Box’, which explored the need for architects and designers to be more experimental and creative in their thought processes and in their inventories. The event spanned a host of activities, from panel talks to exhibitions to the book launch of Nigerian artist-designer Pa Demas Nwoko, and featured several thoughtful, educative and fun moments.
Design Week Lagos 2022: the highlights
‘Theoracle’ by Ini Archibong
Picture this: the first block in the design week exhibition room, a video installation capturing a 65in TV sits on a white wall. In the video, a movement artist wearing a yellow fluid dress moves her body in rhythmic motions, opening the ‘Theoracle’ installation of Switzerland-based designer Ini Archibong. The installation involves light, water, sound, crystal and glass and captures the essence of spirituality. The body rhythm of the movement artist accentuates the irregular synchronisation of untraceable language – that which reflects itself in a godly symphony. Contextually, Archibong thought of the ‘Theoracle’ light as a means of crafting an eccentric African myth and offering back to his ancestry as a diasporan child.
‘Ilé Ilà’ by Tosin Oshinowo
What is Design Week Lagos without a traditional chair by Nigerian architect Tosin Oshinowo? Oshinowo has always had that penchant for creating chairs with a cultural intuition, thick fabric texture and mute colours. Oshinowo exhibited one of the chairs in her ’Ilé Ilà’ collection: a Yoruba-inclining woodwork, made of shiny-grey stripe fabric that conveys a minimalistic charm – something that can make its way into a traditionally crafted home or any modern mix.
Pa Demas Nwoko book launch
The last day of Design Week Lagos 2022 began with the launch of Concrete thinking, a book by prominent Nigerian architect and artist Pa Demas Nwoko. The event brought together several art and design protégés, including Chief Nike Davies-Okundaye and a host of Nwoko’s peers from the University of Ibadan. Introduced by Ogufere, the event included a Q&A session between the architect and the audience.
Design Week Lagos 2022: Young designer exhibit room
One of Design Week Lagos’ major objectives has been to spotlight the creativity and the oeuvre of the next generation of architects and designers. This year, a whole exhibition room was dedicated to showcasing the works of young designers.
Handmade raffia ottoman and handmade raffia lamp by Bubu Ogisi
The first work encountered in the young designer’s room was that of Bubu Ogisi, foremost Nigerian fashion designer and artist. For this design project, Ogisi looked to sustainability. She wanted to explore the existentialism of the forest and its permanent relevance to mankind, interweaving African spirituality in the same manner. ‘We consistently take from the forest and rarely give back; in this way this room pays homage to the forest and divine inspiration: leaf branch and tree,’ she says. For this collection, Ogisi made two pieces of forest-inspired homeware: the handmade raffia ottoman and the handmade raffia lamp, using both as a cultural force between the Black altar of Nigeria and Kongo.
‘Anwuli chair’ by Myles Igwe
‘Anwuli chair’ came with a feisty look, more modern, extra functionality and with a moderate gaude— all of which designer Myles Igwe had thought of, that’s why he said 'simplicity is the easiest way to attain practicality and utility, hence the easily perceivable design but sophisticated regardless. The chair manifests the impact of simple but intentional design.'
‘Jesmonite Arch’ lamp by Tejumola Butler Adenuga
Nigerian designer Tejumola Butler Adenuga was inspired by nature and the man-made. The designer made a lampstand that nods to weathered rock but is in fact cast from packaging materials.
Lounge chair by Sandra Afamefuna (Zonna)
Walnut wood, leather and rattan come together in this lounge chair. Made by Zonna (Sandra Ahamefuna) of the brand Zo, the chair is at once minimalistic and aesthetically sensational.
‘Bulkan, Via and Hat’ by Charles O Job
Charles O Job presented a trio of products with a particularly photogenic aesthetic: ‘Bulkan’, a red and white cross-shaped bookshelf; ‘Via’, an umbrella stand; and ‘Hat’, a coat hanger that could be wall-mounted.
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