Wallpaper* Global Interiors: a snapshot of design in Africa
Our edit of furniture from the African continent includes pieces by Mabeo, Nmbello Studio, Murrmurr and Zizipho Poswa
Wallpaper’s Global Interiors 2021 features some of the most inspiring furniture design across six continents, represented in the April issue of Wallpaper* magazine in a sequence of stunning images created by Berlin 3D design studio Form & Rausch. The first leg of our fabulous furniture odyssey took us to Africa, and here we showcase in more detail our pick of local design (stay tuned for our next stop!).
Since 2006, Peter Mabeo has been creating exquisitely crafted furniture and accessories from his hometown of Gaborone, Botswana, in collaboration with some of the world’s most celebrated designers. Although the brand is best known for its sculpted and chiselled hand-crafted wooden pieces (by the likes of Patricia Urquiola, Garth Roberts and Claesson Koivisto Rune, as well as Mabeo himself), some of Mabeo’s most recent endeavours include bronze and galvanised metal objects and furniture. Among them is the Lebone collection of lamps by French designer Inès Bressand: this includes both table and floor versions made of brass (pictured) or galvanised metal sheets. Each lamp is hand-beaten and bears the signs of the craftsman’s hand.
Hailing from Cape Town, Atang Tshikare is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist and designer whose sculptural work evolved from his street art. In his work and life, Tshikare was influenced by his father, an anti-apartheid activist who regularly collaborated with pan-African publications and art magazines. Tshikare’s work springs ’from the dynamic negotiations between an urban dialogue emerging in contemporary art and design consciousness across Africa, and his intuitive sense of primal matter rooted in personal heritage and Southern African cultural knowledge’, reads his biography. The ‘Yang-Kapa-Yang’ loveseat (pictured here) is made of patinated and polished bronze, and is part of a pair inspired by the Modimolle mountains of Limpopo, South Africa, with this piece in particular created to celebrate the area’s Mogalakwena River.
Cape Town-based interiors designer Mia Senekal launched furniture brand Murrmurr to further explore her interest in natural lines and textures. Her first collection is inspired by moon phases, which Senekal interprets through a series of upholstered seats and tables, including the ‘New Moon’ sofa (pictured here alongside the ‘Quarter’ side table). The designer interpreted the moon’s forms into a modular system to design the piece, which features velvet upholstery and a composition of soft cushions arranged vertically and horizontally to form the sofa.
Nigerian-Canadian designer Lani Adeoye works closely with artisans in Nigeria to create her objects, which she describes as ‘a journey to redefine heritage whilst creating pieces today for your tomorrow’. Adeoye’s collections feature lighting, objects and furniture defined by woven motifs that nod to traditional craftsmanship while establishing a contemporary aesthetic. The ‘Talking Table’ (pictured) features a composition of hand-welded steel rods and turned wood, and a multifunctional design. The side table is composed of a wooden tray that can be removed and used around the home, and doubles as a lamp. The piece’s forms reference the West Aftican talking drum, the designer explains: ‘The talking drum has the ability to mimic human speech and was originally used as a communication tool. These pieces derive their rhythmic sculptural form and sense of materiality from this celebratory instrument.’
Wallpaper* Design Awards winner Nifemi Marcus Bello has created the ‘LM’ stool as a multifunctional furniture piece exploring the limitations of design and manufacturing. The Lagos-based designer explains: ‘When you think of a conventional chair or a stool, the first thing that comes to mind is its four legs. Through the “LM” stool, [we decided] to rework the idea of four-legged furniture by exploiting sheet metal to create stability. Once stability was established we began to toy with the idea of subtraction: how much material does one need to create stability?’ By exploring this idea, Bello and his team created an asymmetrical, angular piece whose form makes it a perfect seat, perch or occasional table around the home. Its construction, Bello explains, makes it incredibly stable and able to hold large weight.
The ceramic works of Zizipho Poswa are informed by her personal experience as a Xhosa woman and artist living in contemporary South Africa. Her work is based on recreating visual references from daily life into simplified patterns, as evidenced in the Umthwalo series she created for South African gallery Southern Guild (pictured here). Featuring stacked totemic forms, the Umthwalo collection is ‘an ode to the load carried by African women and the traditional tasks of gathering wood, collecting water and taking bucket loads of clothing to wash in the river’. The balancing act was recreated by Poswa using monolithic sculptural forms in painted clay.
The ‘Lean’ side table in timber and glass was created by Cape Town-based interior design studio Okha. Working with South Africa’s finest artists and artisans, the brand’s limited-edition and one-off furniture pieces exude a timeless elegance combined with contemporary aesthetic.
Started in 2000 as a small workshop in Accra, ghana, Tekura has grown into a hub for creativity and craftsmanship creating unique furniture and objects as well as customized pieces. ‘Drawing inspiration from the many beautiful stories from Africa, including the continent’s artistry and culture,’ the brand’s portfolio includes tables, stools as well as accessories such as candle holders and vases, defined yby a contemporary aesthetic. ‘We make [pieces] reflecting true craftsmanship and the spirit of our local artisans,’ they say.