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Spotlight on Africa

Spotlight on Africa

Design Network Africa is doing valuable work to push forward some of the best designers the continent has to offer. In the first of a three-part blog series, we take a brief look at those designers and their products.

Hamed Ouatarra (Burkina Faso)

Through his raw mixed-media creations, Hamed Ouatarra aims to bring out design that exposes the realities of modern Africa. “My goal is to provide a key point in a continent which suffers from imports and all kinds of imitation furniture, especially of poor quality and which does not reflect our culture,” he says. Hamed has exhibited widely – from Bilbao, Spain to Miami, USA – and supplies his products to Europe and Africa.

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Hamed Ouatarra

Babacar M’Bodj Niang (Senegal)

Strange and often humanoid, Babacar M’Bodj Niang’s sculpted designs are as abundant as they are multiform – from tables with fragile bowed legs, to moulded and plaited leather chairs with a mysterious West African sensuality. He began over a decade ago working with wood and improbable shapes, combining them with organic materials, either recuperated or natural, to create objects charged with identity.

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Babacar M’Bodj Niang

Adèle Dejak (Kenya)

Nigerian-born Adèle Dejak’s line of sculptural fashion accessories in gold, bone, ostrich shell and traditional cloth has its roots in the heart of Kenya. Her bold, powerful designs reflect her defining sense of the strong contemporary African woman and has led to design projects with an Italian fashion house, Ferragamo. She is now launching AD Interiors, a collection of lights and objects for the home.

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Adèle Dejak

Kitengela Glass (Kenya)

Kitengela’s Hot Glass Studio, led by designer Ansem Croze, employs more than 40 people and produces a huge range of glass designs from vessels made from sea grass to constellation-style chandeliers. Each design is unique: 100% recycled & 100% Kenyan. Ansem trained in Holland with glass masters Willem and Bernard Heesen, before opening his studio bordering the Nairobi National Park.

Kpando Pottery (Ghana)

Shaped without a potter’s wheel and given a unique black patina finish by firing over an open bamboo fire instead of a kiln, the ceramics from designer Joseph Nii Noi Douwuona are made under his direction by 70 Ghanaian women. Together they create striking contemporary pieces featuring sensual, organic forms and tactile surface detailing – a true testimony to ‘slow’ design.


Tekura (Ghana)

Known for its contemporary interpretations of legendary Ashanti and Fanti cultural artistry, each of Tekura’s functional wooden pieces is created by master artisans under the direction of Josephine and Kweku Forson. Tekura’s respect for heritage and quality of life extends to the environment and all their designs are produced from wood found lying on the ground of reforested woodland.