Ikea Enlists Distinguished Group of African Creatives To Design Its New Collection

The next time you psych yourself up to take the day-long trip to Ikea, you may be delighted to find furniture and home goods created by African designers lining its never-ending shelves.

The Swedish retail giant, which owns 392 stores across 48 countries, has enlisted a noteworthy group of creatives from the African continent to produce its 2019 flagship collection.

The collaboration came about after, Marcus Engman, Ikea’s Head of Design, and Ravi Naidoo, founder of Design Inbada—an annual conference for African designers— met to discuss and map-out a plan to spotlight the work of African architects, illustrators and designers, through Ikea’s global platform, CNN International reports.

“The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something IKEA is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world,” said Engman.

While it might seem like Ikea is simply hopping on the “Africa is now” bandwagon, many in the creative community recognize the benefits of the partnership for the African artists involved.

For locally based designers, the project is a way to garner international recognition, and promote an “African aesthetic” on global markets.

“Japanese minimalism once inspired a lot of design projects and the philosophy permeated the design community. Certain approaches in many urban African environments could benefit or contaminate the international world of design,” said Ivorian architect, Issa Diabate.

Preliminary designs will be on display at the 22nd  Design Indaba conference in Cape Town, and will feature the work of renowned Rwandan architect, Christian Benimana and Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, to name a few.

The full collection hits stores in 2019.

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