at home - australian design
"AT HOME: Modern Australian Design" places over 60 modern pieces from some of Australia’s leading designers amongst an important collection of Late Georgian furniture. The venue, Old Government House in Sydney's Parramatta district, is the oldest surviving public building in Australia and part of the World Heritage Register. It was home to the Governors of New South Wales from the beginnings of the penal colony at the end of the 18th century until the mid 1850’s.
The exhibition curator David Clark is a leading figure in the interior design industry. As Design and Deputy Editor for Belle and as Editor-in-chief of Vogue Living – David gave voice to his particular focus on the idea of ‘Home’. He values texture, technology and the sensual experience of being human, believing in the pursuit of beauty, the importance of curiosity, and the power of design to create a more civilized world.
“AT HOME is a rare opportunity to place contemporary objects in one of the most historic interiors in Australia”, says David. “It allows for a fascinating juxtaposition of domestic lives across centuries.
In the meagre and brutal beginnings of a penal colony the Governors and their families approximated, as best they could, some semblance of civilisation in an alien place at the far reaches of the world. In Old Government House we can feel their ghosts. This exhibition adds another spirit to the place with the creativity and optimism of 21st century Australian designers and their works. It asks us to look at domestic life then and now, to look at furniture types and styles and how they’ve disappeared or morphed. More subtly it asks us to look at aesthetic ideas of Australia, both then and now.
"AT HOME" is on show at Old Government House until January 22nd, 2017
- The original Georgian table in the dining room is replaced by the Broached Colonial Birdsmouth Table by Adam Goodrum with his folding Stitch Chair by Cappellini and a selection of contemporary objects on top. The name of the table refers to the birdsmouth mast and references an important tool of the colonial empire, i.e. maritime carpentry. The legs of the table are constructed in the same way but are made from marblo in colours used in maritime signal flags.
Nairobi-based concept fashion store Ichyulu, which launched in January 2016, has just teamed up with Kenyan photographer Migwa Nthigah and local style bloggers from 2ManySiblings to create a series that celebrates Nairobi’s growing style scene.
As a lover of African fashion, Ichyulu was set up to provide a platform that would connect designers with potential consumers and serve as an alternative distribution channel. Ichyulu's focus is to provide a curated retail experience for those who seek unique pieces to match their individual style. Part of the ethos is to celebrate the diversity of African fashion through showcasing the use of local materials, customs prints and craftsmanship.
2ManySiblings is made up of Velma Rossa and Oliver Asike from Nairobi, Kenya. They are a brother and sister duo who are curating transitional contemporary African narratives which they showcase at on their blog. Migwa Nthigah (MagiqLens Kenya) is a photographer based in Nairobi, Kenya.
This post was orginally published on Design Indaba
living an avenue
Paulista Avenue is one of the most important avenues in Brazil and in Latin America. In a short span, this once seemingly corporatist avenue has acquired a new identity.
The first of many measures that helped redesign this new identity was the addition of bike lanes, which connect to several points in the city, and which spatially reduced the number of cars. This environmentally-friendly measure helped São Paulo's citizens experience the streets in a different way - in a much more interactive and dynamic fashion.
On December 18th 2015, a law was sanctioned which closed off the avenue, not allowing any cars to drive through it on Sundays. This initiative has transformed the public space and how it's used, fostering various artistic manifestations; all this in a very cosmopolitan manner. In almost every street corner there are musicians from all around the world, performing side by side with regional artists. There are also many plastic artists, displaying their work in what has become a big, roofless art gallery. Lanes are closed off with skate ramps, while tourists and local families walk freely in the middle of the avenue, next to cyclists and joggers.
Dance or yoga lessons are frequently part of the agenda, as well as animal donations, or gastronomical festivals, where included in the menu is always some organic foods (supplied by the several food trucks found around Paulista Avenue). But what calls the most attention is the amount of handmade clothing, which includes various pieces by immigrants from around the globe.
What began as a timid initiative has progressively gained traction, creating wholesome social interaction in the urban space, in a cultural, sustainable and recreational way. This trend is paradoxically disseminating through social media, where the irony resides in the fact that the "virtual world" has given birth to activities which invite us to go out to the streets more often, and to embrace access to the slow web as an ally of this new social design.
Photos by Thiago Nagasima
Lu Valenzza borned in Amazonia and based in São Paulo is a future trends enthusiast and an anthropologic observer. She is offering creative research, communications support, and trend forecasting to provide actionable insights to help society and businesses move forward in the coming years, always in touch with tomorrow think scenarios for redesign a better world.
scarred for life
In Joana Choumali´s ”haabré, the last generation », questions of life experiences are being highlighted in a most interesting way. Choumali is a photographer born in 1974, currently based in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). She studied Graphic Arts in Casablanca (Morocco) and has worked as an Art Director for McCann-Erickson, Abidjan, before embarking on career in photography. In « haabré, the last generation” she felt the need to document the last generation of people who have the body art phenomena scarifications as an expression of identity, showing both the controversy and the beauty of this traditional practice.
The reasons for getting scarifications, which is a superficial incision in the human skin, are diverse - hedonistic reasons in most parts of the world and storytelling in others. Haabré means writing in Kô language from Burkina Faso but could also stand for scarification. Social scarification, used to tell a story of tribe identity, is a tradition that has ancient origin in Africa and is a common practice in many regions on the continent. This especially in West Africa, where it replaced tattoos that show poorly on dark skin. It often takes form during a rite in which a person goes from being a child into adulthood.
Looking back even further through ancient history, patterns of scarification can be found in sculptures in Ife in South western Nigeria, which was, and still is today, the sacred city of the Yoruba people. When the city flourished artistically around the 10th century, it provided a tradition of naturalistic sculpturing with one of the findings showing a cast bronze head which is covered with thin, parallel scarification patterns that contrasts to the round features of the head. This head is believed to be a female Oni, which is a king or a ruler. Similar geometric patterns have also been used in architecture, found in farming communities on the border between Burkina Faso and Ghana. In those cases the patterns are used for wall decoration, where women paint the walls of round dwellings both inside and out with horizontally molded ridges called yidoor and long eye (long life) to express good wishes for the family. Like the sculpture of the Oni, the yidoor that consists of triangular patterns are spread over the wall in several rows. Pottery and baskets are also decorated in the same way. « When people decorate themselves, their homes, and their possessions with the same patterns, art serves to enhance cultural identity » (Stokstad & Cothren, 2011).
This is evident in different expressions, scarification being one of them, while in the western part of the globe commercial brands have become a signal of characterization, with the logo or brand name playing a significant semiotic role used to express who we are, making consumption an inevitable club where we go to practice ritual around identity.
”Haabre, the last generation” depicts men and women who have become representative of their communities through scarification. It is a practice forged around repetition, symmetry and texture as an art form.
Choumali’s work also has an anthropological value in the way that she is documenting a story that is heading for an end. The arrangement reflects this issue by using strong lightning to catch a moment of the subjects as they are. Speaking to us showing us both who they are and what their identity as a person is within a tribe context. The created patterns are a reminder of their culture, history and future, and they are meant to be worn proudly in the face of their skin, creating an abundance palette of texture, relief and landscape on the human body.
It is of course a subject beyond esthetic wonders - yet don’t we all bear a scar of some sort? Scars of age, scars of war and scars of life. It is true that some people would like to get rid of their scars because of the abnormality of the esthetic in today’s society, which for some people has an impact on their feeling of pride. Being a tradition of intimate nature, the scars can cause a conflict of difference due to urbanization.
« I remember Mr. Ekra , the driver who took me to school. Ekra had large scars that marked his face from temple to chin. I found these fascinating geometric shapes, and normal at the same time. Ivorian from the east-center of the country, Ekra was not an exception. It was common to see people with various scars proudly displaying their social origins. I remember a famous minister of ‘Information ‘, originally from northern Côte d’Ivoire, and a noted pilot commander, who also wore scarifications, and it appeared to us as banal. The years pass, and the practice gradually disappears.” – Choumali.
Text: Rosewood Magazine, Joana Choumali
Photos: Joana Choumali
We are happy to share with you this post originally published on Rosewood Magazine, a proud narrator of stories that matter, connecting singular subjects to a global audience. This young magazine focus on creativity on the African continent and trends in general.
culture on a can
Packaging is a powerful way for brands to make a statement. It is ubiquitous in our daily lives: from the stores where we get our food from to the inside of our fridges, we’re able to recognize brands simply through colour codes and package shapes. This power to infiltrate our environment is generally used by brands to get potential customers to become familiar with them and ultimately prefer them over competitors. But what happens when a brand replaces its own branding to tap into existing cultural codes? That’s the question that arises from the winning design from BOS’s Design-A-Can competition.
BOS is an ice tea company that was born in 2010 in South Africa, and which has been a supporter of the local art and design scenes. In 2014, the brand launched a competition to let one South African artist design the can for its newest ice tea flavour, which it will be launching this summer with a limited edition of 100,000 cans. Out of over 700 entries from all over the country, it’s Ofentse Letebele’s design which was chosen for “its modern spin on what is essentially a very African design, and [which] looks great as part of the BOS family” according to CEO Grant Rushmere. The artist says he was inspired by 18th century Ndebele wall painting, which “has quite a distinctive palette and geometrical alignment that seems to echo “Africa” at the back of the mind.”
The Southern Ndebele is one of the Nguni tribes that make up two thirds of the South African population. Throughout the tribe’s history, as the Ndebele have at times been marginalized, the geometric patterns with which they decorated the outside walls of their houses were a form of cultural resistance and continuous community-building, a highly visual affirmation of their identity. Women are in charge of creating the designs as a way to express their individuality, which are then passed down to their daughters, a tradition which is still alive today.
According to Rushmere, the idea of the competition was to “allow people to express their story, and mirror it within BOS’s visual identity.” With the winning design, the brand taps into existing cultural codes instead of forcing itself and its branding onto its customers – a bold move which may make the young brand more relevant not only within its native country, but also internationally as it is seen to give a voice to and celebrate particular cultures and their people. “I wanted to create a situation whereby people can realize the richness of the land that we live in,” explains Letebele. “There’s so much that you can take from the environment, from nature and from the interaction of the different people.”
What’s more, the design is rooted in a visual style that is at once traditional and contemporary, with the branding not being overwhelmingly prominent, giving it more universal resonance. The artist hopes this will create an emotional connection with customers, who could re-use or adopt the patterns, re-working them as “part of a fashion statement, or interior décor. I’m hoping people won’t throw it away, but rather collect and share.” With a design rooted so deeply in the visual culture of an African tribe winning BOS’s first Design-A-Can competition, it will be interesting to see the propositions in next year’s iteration, which will accept applications from international contestants.
Ofentse Letebele, who sometimes goes under the pseudonym King Debs, is a South African artist, musician, graffiti artist and a designer. An ongoing work is the #AMANDLA movement, a public art project with which Letebele is hoping to drive a spirit of solidarity, self-love, self-confidence and power across the African continent.
Mathilde Leblond is a trendwatcher based in Buenos Aires with a passion for creativity, beauty and the future. For Trend Tablet she contributes posts about some of the most arresting artists and creators which she scours the internet to find out about.
to catch a dream
Based in Nairobi, Kenya, NEST Collective is a group of artists who aim to “explore [their] troubled modern identities, re-imagine [their] pasts and inhabit mythical African futures.” The surreal fashion film ‘To Catch a Dream,’ which was released last month, is a result of a collaboration with their Chico Leco Programme, which generates cross-disciplinary work between fashion and other creative disciplines. The short film was written and directed by Jim Chuchu, who has recently been praised for his powerful film ‘Story of our Lives’ which recounts stories from the LGBT community in Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal.
In ‘To Catch a Dream,’ Chuchu tells the story of Ajuma (embodied by iconic Kenyan model Ajuma Nasenyana), a widow whose sleep keeps being disturbed by a recurring nightmare. As medicine is no help, Ajuma follows a friend’s magical remedy and finds herself in the Land of Dreams where she is to get rid of the nightmare, guided by a set of ethereal characters along the way. The remedy used in the film was made up by Chuchu, but it sounds familiar enough that he keeps getting asked which particular tribe he borrowed it from:
“I was surprised that it is possible to construct fables that are seemingly indistinguishable from the untouchable canon of Kenyan/African mythology,’ he says. ‘This has reaffirmed my interest in the idea of remixed pasts. I suppose people who have had their pasts erased can make up their own pasts.”
Chuchu embraces the African ancestral oral tradition but modernizes it with a grace and a surrealism reminiscent of Paradjanov’s 1969 chef d’oeuvre ‘Sayat-Nova’. While the beginning of the film is set in a stylish if international-looking contemporary house (showing magic is relevant in all contexts and epochs), the second part is set in Kenyan landscapes whose dream-like beauty never seems to phase any of the characters - on the contrary, they fit perfectly in their magnificent surroundings.
Like ‘Sayat-Nova’, ‘To Catch a Dream’ features striking costumes whose sculpturesque elegance and simplicity lends all the characters a regal presence. As it happens, each costume showcases designs by eight fashion houses based in Kenya, an excellent opportunity to see what’s happening outside of mainstream fashion circuits.
While it may sometimes seem canonical and fixed, folklore is something that is deeply alive: the traditional costumes need to be worn and performed in, the stories need to be told, listened to, believed and retold. Chuchu recognizes this and adds to rather than borrows from a rich mythology he and his audience are familiar with. With this visual variation on African mysticism and a strong use of storytelling, he successfully embeds the contemporary designers’ clothes within an authentic and evolving local tradition.
Nest Collective. Written and directed by Jim Chuchu, produced by Wangechi Ngugi, with creative direction and styling by Sunny Dolat. Designs by Namnyak Odupoy, Ami Doshi, Kepha Maina, Jamil and Azra Walji, Katungulu Mwendwa, Ann McCreath and Adèle Dejak.
Mathilde Leblond is a trendwatcher based in Buenos Aires with a passion for creativity, beauty and the future. For Trend Tablet she contributes posts about some of the most arresting artists and creators which she scours the internet to find out about.
Play Play is a result of a close collaboration between De Steyl - the South African furniture makers, based in Garden Route lead by Deanne Viljoen, and RR Studio a pattern development studio - lead by Renée Rossouw, together with local artisans and apprentices from the community.
Aiming for simplicity in the manufacturing process, they have suppressed unnecessary and damaging chemicals on the way, leaving room for beautiful, sustainable materials. Birch Plywood play was a saying in this conversation, sanded and finished by hand, and a new way for Deanne of opening up questions surrounding manufacturing processes, as she is moving towards a more sustainable signature in her practice.
"It was important for me to create a proudly South African range that has environmental integrity, is playful and fun to use and which you can relate to from childhood into adulthood. " Deanne Viljoen
Both Viljoen and Rossouw are designers trained in architecture, and this made it an easy task to find a common ground of interaction and communication, making shapes, materials and colors an economy of transcend, since it is also about investigating dimensions between object and space.
The patterns are closely linked to painting techniques used by the Ndebele women, often prepared in strong bold colors to decorate walls. In fact, this technique is embedded into the South African painting traditions passed down from generations. Yet, here they are, translated into semi-abstract graphic patterns for the eye to devour.
"It becomes apparent in the process that certain patterns work better on certain objects or surfaces. At the moment I’m very interested in exploring different processes with a multitude of steps to make new art. My patterns are usually a step beyond the final artwork. But as Deanne mentioned earlier, as architects we are also interested in how people use objects or space. For me it is a natural inclination to want to use these patterns on various products, and not keep them on paper only." Renée Rossouw.
Text Rosewood Magazine
Photo Courtesy of De Steyl
Rosewood Magazine, a proud narrator of stories that matter, connecting singular subjects to a global audience. This young magazine focus on creativity on the African continent and trends in general.
The Northeastern region of Brazil is a culturally evolving and dynamic region of the Brazilian territory. With European, African and native influences, the area is a melting pot of traditions. Being initial area of Brazil for European arrival, the territory has had numerous evolutions both ethnic and within. From the zona da Mata, a tropical forest and agricultural area, to the arid highlands or the historical and “capital of happiness” city of Salvador de Bahia, the area is immensely rich in diversity.
The Armorial Movement, is an artistic initiative meant to promote the culture of this region. The poet and historian Araino Suassane founded it in 1970 in the cultured city of Recife. It reunites music, dance, theatre, literature, cinema, design, arts and crafts. The actual word “armorial” defines perfectly what the movement is about; “armorials” were originally crests used by families that combined a European tradition with the region’s colors, animals and vegetation.
The movement relies therefore on a combination of self-taught and educated artists that instead of only promoting an aesthetic approach of conception, try to deliberately include political, social and geographical influences and to promote the people’s culture.
The Armorial design group is a collective of North-Eastern Brazilians Rodrigo de Almeida, Zanini de Zanine, Sérgio Matos and Rodrigo Ambrósio. In their own words they combine “traditional leather clothing and crafts and the Northeastern way of life, mixing public and private symbols. “
In their first set of projects, the main inspiration was the work of leather and the cattle culture of the area. This produces wonderfully crafted results, interpreting the wonders of the land; implementing ochre, skin and fur like colors and textures and creating organically shaped pieces.
Rodrigo Almeida’s latest project “Xôboi” (2014) is another good example of what the movement aims. He re- interpreted traditional Brazilian Xôboi shoes by applying Brazil’s street art inspired colors, leather craftsmanship, African and indigenous shapes and soccer shoe inspired soles to a today’s western sneaker.
The result is astoundingly modern and bold, and it represents the evolutions and exchanges of a country that has managed to integrate the world of today into to their strong cultural background.
makoko floating school by nlé
We are vey happy to start a new collaboration with Rosewood Magazine, a proud narrator of stories that matter, connecting singular subjects to a global audience. This young magazine focus on creativity on the African continent and trends in general.
There is a branch in architecture that is pretentiously treating both the interior and exterior of the house from a solution-oriented design, tailoring precisely both the house and the situation it arises from. Its pretensions go far beyond exhibitionistic or aesthetical spectacles.
Premises in counting while talking about this kind of architecture are sustainability, relativity to extreme conditions such as social and economic ones. The houses are then allowed to derive their own singular typography from those features, included in the start equation. The results are sometimes mercantile, sometimes of philanthropic nature. The resources are often limited, locally produced and by experience challenging to work with. However, those challenges didn’t appear to NLÉWORK as unobtainable, while working on Makoko floating school.
Nlé is an Amsterdam and Lagos based architecture and design unit, with focus on urbanism and city development, founded by Kunlé Adeyemi. Makoko floating school project started out as a self initiated project by the company in 2011, but later on received research funds from Heinrich Boll Stiftung, and construction funds from the federal ministry of environment Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP).
Makoko is one of Lagos' poorest regions, with somewhere around 100,000 inhabitants, which, due to shortage of land, chose to build a great deal of their housing on water. Without a sustainable infrastructure to support this type of housing area, there is a huge risk of natural disasters such as fires and floodings.
Nléworks started to reflect on this issues back in 2011, and took on the initiative to build Makoko's first sustainable floating house with the help of the Makoko residents. The idea is to create a safe, versatile house with a primary function as school, there after a clinic center, as well as community center. Our hope is that this brilliant initiative and continued work will give the habitants of Makoko a solid foundation to continue to grow, and to build a sustainable future on.
Text: Rosewood Magazine
Photo: Courtesy of Iwan Baan via Archdaily
kama by anupamaa
As Lidewij Edelkoort explains it: "The melting pot of Anupamaa’s eclectic inspirations creates an inspiring and cultural collection of fetichistic fashion, attaching us to the roots of India and at the same time making us international urban nomads. Clothes for our own century.”
Anupama Dayal the designer behind Anupamaa share with us her thoughts : " My Collection "Kama" is inspired by Vatsayanas Kamasutra, written in about 400 BC, and Mira Nairs sensitive film by the same name. Contrary to popular perception, the Kamasutra is not really a sex manual. It is an exhaustive guide on virtuous and gracious living and elaborates on love, family life anaesthetic erotic and pleasure filled living. This is a bridal collection.
These are bridal clothes bursting with excitement … not so much for the wedding ceremony but for what is to follow. All the clothes are completely rooted in tradition and totally within the modesty requirements of the demure Indian bride.
Yet all it takes will be the will of the bride and her desire to seduce her lover and the same clothes will be transformed into lethal weapons of seduction. She has learnt how to use her body and is unafraid to enjoy her newfound powers."