Lagos designer Nifemi Marcus Bello of Nmbello Studio has designed a modular kiosk for local skate brand Waf (short for Wafflesncream). Imagined as a space for pop-up retail experiences, the structure is inspired by the skate brand’s use of natural materials and tones, replicated with the use of bamboo throughout.
More than just a skateboarding brand, since its founding in 2012, Waf has been building a community and growing a culture throughout Nigeria. A Lagos flagship store doubles as what Waf describes as ‘a safe space for the Lagos underground scene, and Nigerian youth of different backgrounds to congregate’. The brand is also working with local government to create Nigeria’s first skate park, with a view to building more parks in key cities across West Africa.
‘The choice of bamboo was inspired by locally made Beninese blinds called kosinlé, a prominent staple in homes located in Porto-Novo, Benin,’ explains Bello. The designer explains that the blinds are made by stripping bamboo and weaving pieces against each other, while in the case of the kiosk, the bamboo is striped, wrapped and woven against a metal frame to create the overall form and silhouette for each module.
Responding to a brief to create a portable and interactive space to be used across the city of Lagos, Bello devised a modular, hexagonal shape allowing for a variety of set-ups. ‘While the kiosk is in use, clothes are hung above eye level to pay homage to Lagos’ streetwear vendors, who have created an architectural archetype for the selling of bootleg and secondhand clothing across Lagos,’ he continues.
Bello’s work features a variety of materials and techniques. The colourful steel designs of his ‘LM’ stools and ‘Selah’ lamps (of which he says, ‘I’ve always wanted to dive into lighting and hoped I’d get a brief to design a lamp someday. That didn’t happen, so instead of waiting around, I decided to create one’ ) have become popular through retailers such as Lichen in New York City and Oswalde Shop in London. In 2020, his design for a portable handwashing station caught our attention and was awarded Life Enhancer of the Year at the Wallpaper* Design Awards.
‘This year, I am carrying out a research project in Lagos that’s looking into the intersection between urban planning and its influence on the design and manufacturing of indigenous contemporary design solutions and products in major West African cities,’ he explains. ‘I am hoping that the findings will inform a great deal of design directions and discuss what it means to design, and to be a designer in contemporary Africa.’
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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