Contemporary Design Africa


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ISBN: 9780500291627 Category:

Tapiwa Matsinde


For the first time, here is a book on contemporary African design that offers a fresh perspective rather than just concentrating on traditional crafts. Africa invented ‘design’; it just wasn’t called that. Now, expressing new-found confidence, an astonishingly variegated contemporary efflorescence is ready to go global. The reader is taken far beyond such cultural stereotypes as safari chic and is shown innovative creativity from across the continent.

The work included illustrates how traditions are being revived, but with a contemporary twist. The award-winning designs by Zenzulu™ in South Africa, for instance, are based on the utilization of the skills of Zulu master basketweavers. An introductory section identifies the sophistication, vitality, diversity and soulfulness of the past that is now harnessed to develop a contemporary African identity.

With a primary focus on interiors, sections on furniture, textiles, ceramics, basketry and lighting bring together the work of respected designers, makers and organizations based on the African continent or part of the diaspora. Celebrating the wider changes occurring across Africa, the fifty or so designers and crafters included have been chosen for their innovative approach to creating sophisticated products. Sustainability and recycling are often of the utmost importance: Cheick Diallo, the founder of the African Designers Association, for example, creates stunning pieces of furniture from discarded materials.

This book will preserve the traditions of the past by creating a record of the designs they are influencing in the present, whether shown in using natural indigo dyeing or in creating porcelain ceramics inspired by basketmaking designs. The book is completed by a map, as well as a glossary and bibliography.

Additional information

Weight 891 g
Dimensions 20.2 x 24.9 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 May 2015
Number of pages 208
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 20.2 x 24.9 cm
Weight 891 g


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Tapiwa Matsinde is a British-born designer, creative business consultant and writer of Zimbabwean heritage. She has worked as a graphic designer and a brand guardian in corporate communications for leading international organizations, and is the creator of a blog, Atelier Fifty-Five.