African folk instruments inspire Weruzo’s debut design collection
Lifestyle brand Weruzo debuts with the ‘Celestine’ collection of homeware objects, crafted in Northern Nigeria using traditional techniques and inspired by African music
Fashion designer Chinasa Chukwu presents a new collection of homeware and objects under her label Weruzo. Inspired by traditional African folk instruments, the collection is inspired by the designer’s childhood spent between England and Nigeria, and her interest in the craft stories she discovered while in Africa.
Weruzo: a lifestyle brand celebrating African craft
A self-taught fashion designer, Chukwu worked for Erdem and Max Mara before setting up Weruzo as a fashion label, in 2015, while also working on art direction and curation. After taking a break from her fashion work in 2019, Weruzo now returns as a lifestyle brand, offering timeless pieces ‘that would grow with their owners and become part of new histories’.
To build Weruzo, Chukwu immersed herself into African craftsmanship, spending several months alongside artisans in Northern Nigeria and discovering traditional techniques and materials. While there, the designer explored a new medium for her work, sketching vessels and objects inspired by local craft’s histories. The brand, she explains, is now ‘part lifestyle brand, part creative/curatorial practice transposing traditional African design signatures and handcrafting techniques into modern design objects’.
‘Celestine’ collection by Weruzo
Weruzo makes its debut with the ‘Celestine’ collection, whose design is inspired by the instruments used in African folk music traditions. The collection’s objects – expressive vases and candle holders – were created using original techniques that include moulding clay by hand and, once fired, blackening it on an outdoor wood fire. Their silhouettes are a nod to horned musical instruments and the rounded shapes of Ṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ percussions. It’s a collection of modern artifacts that evokes ‘musical moonlit nights in village squares, textured as though taking on new life after years of playing’.
Continuing the musical theme, the collection’s name is a tribute to Igbo highlife musician Celestine Ukwu, and each style is named after an African musician, such as Miriam Makeba and the Lijadu sisters.
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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