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10 Leading Designers From Africa To Know

'Contemporary Design Africa' author Tapiwa Matsinde highlights 10 leading contemporary decor designers from Africa.


Contemporary Design Africa Book Cover © Thames & Hudson

For over a decade and a half an exciting, thriving design scene has taken hold across the African continent, bringing forth a host of talent who are drawing increased global attention. These new voices are challenging the stereotypes that have long defined design from Africa, their work reflecting the wider changes happening across the continent. Designers and artisans together are offering up new perspectives, reviving and revitalising ancient traditions and crafts, and seeking ways to make their world better. This has resulted in innovative, sophisticated products that not only reflect the diversity of the continent, but are also championing 'made in Africa'. Specifically looking to the world of contemporary decor, highlighted over the following pages are a selection of leading and emerging designers drawn from the disciplines of: furniture, ceramics, textiles, product, and basketry design who are making their mark on the industry.

Tapiwa Matsinde is a UK-based designer, writer, and founder of the design blog Atelier Fifty-Five. In her new book, Contemporary Design Africa (Thames & Hudson), Matsinde presents 50 designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora who are creating sophisticated and innovative products and interiors.

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Music
Photo courtesy of AYLØ.

Interview: AYLØ Bridges His Music & Universe In the 'Clairsentience' EP

The Nigerian artist talks about trusting your gut feelings, remedying imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do.

AYLØ's evolution as an artist has led him to view sensitivity as a gift. As the alté soundscape in the Nigerian scene gains significant traction, his laser focus cuts through the tempting smokescreen of commercial success. AYLØ doesn't make music out of need or habit. It all boils down to the power of feeling. "I know how I can inspire people when I make music, and how music inspires me. Now it's more about the message."

Clairsentience, the title of the Nigerian artist's latest EP, is simply defined as the ability to perceive things clearly. A clairsentient person perceives the world through their emotions. Contrary to popular belief, clairsentience isn't a paranormal sixth sense reserved for the chosen few, our inner child reveals that it's an innate faculty that lives within us before the world told us who to be.

Born in 1994 in Benin City, Nigeria, AYLØ knew he wanted to be a musician since he was six-years-old. Raised against the colorful backdrop of his dad's jazz records and the echoes of church choirs from his mother's vast gospel collections, making music isn't something anyone pushed him towards, it organically came to be. By revisiting his past to reconcile his promising future, he shares that, "Music is about your experiences. You have to live to write shit. Everything adds up to the music."

Our conversation emphasized the importance of trusting your gut feelings, how to remedy imposter syndrome and why our identity is best rooted in who we are, rather than what we do,

This interview has been edited for purposes of brevity and clarity.

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