News Brief

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

The Swedish retail store has commissioned a renowned group of African creatives to design its 2019 flagship 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.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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