Africa Is In The Air

Posted on 2010/05/13

Africa is certainly in the air, maybe it’s the lead up to the world cup being held in South Africa next month, or maybe it’s just that I am finally paying attention. Whichever it might be, there are certainly so many interesting stories to discover and lots of people seem to be finding inspiration from the continent.

This week around the world in New York, the city prepares for the annual furniture and design fair, ICFF. Retailer and housewares purveyor ABC Carpet & Home is showcasing the M’Afrique collection produced by Italian manufacturer Moroso. A project conceived by Patrizia Moroso, Moroso’s in-house Art Director as well as daughter of founder Agostino Moroso. Moroso is now positioned as being one of the most innovative and creative players in the field of design largely to Patrizia’s efforts. The company is known for scouting and commissioning young talent who have gone on to become big names in the industry like Konstantin Grcic. Last June, when Moroso was interviewed at Milano Salone she describes her motivations behind the project; “multifaceted, modern Africa deserves to be known and sustained for the originality of the creative languages with which it enriches global culture.” Couldn’t have said it any better, basically the raison d’être for Another Africa!

Moving on to London and the feature of this post is new concept store, Darkroom, which opened last fall on Lamb’s Conduit Street. An area of London which Monocle magazine describes as the “perfect London street.” Just looking at the collection of products and sensibility, it is easy to understand that they fluidly explore the crossover between fashion and interior in the spirit of objet d’art to unite their offerings. Uniquely, they bring new context for primitive art, textiles and jewellery. Their first foray has led them to launch INTO AFRICA, a summer season of African influenced modernist accessories inspired by African arts and textiles. A collaboration with Corrie Williamson [ Jewellery], David David [ Framed prints and cushions], Despina Curtis [Framed Prints], Florian [Jewellery], Fred Butler/Brie Harrison [Jewellery & Headpieces] and many more…

Aside from fashion products designed incorporating vintage West African fabrics, on view are commissioned limited edition prints and one-off pieces. David David, a fashion label exploring the world of prints and patterns,  in addition to designing cushions has created three modern prints inspired and based on African textile patterns and beadwork.

David David (Untitled)

David David (Untitled)

David David (Untitled)

Despina Curtis, former Deputy Editor for Wallpaper magazine, has created a series of three prints in a limited edition of forty pieces of overprinted framed African textiles.

Despina Curtis (Untitled)

Despina Curtis (Untitled)

Despina Curtis (Untitled)

Designer and Darkroom Director, Rhonda Drakeford, has put her creative talents towards designing two prints based on the Ndebele patterns made famous in the art world, if not beyond, by South African & Ndebele artist, Esther Mahlangu.

This shop should definitely be part of any seasoned shopper’s retail reconnaissance.

Rhonda Drakeford (Ndebele 1)

Rhonda Drakeford (Ndebele 2)

52 Lamb’s Conduit Street,
London, WC1N3LL
Nearest Subway: Holborn Russell Square
Tel: +44 (0)20 7831 7244

Story source: Kindly recommended by London-based artist, Valentin.

[Images via Darkroom Darkroom]

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