In 2009 Patricia Urquiola devised an event that drew on African designers’ expertise to create new products, which were then exhibited in the Moroso showroom in Milan.
Designers Bibi Seck and Ayse Birsel used traditional wire weaving techniques to make a variety of furniture, including this oversized chair called Madame Dakar, an enormous armchair as enveloping as a hammock. Tord Boontje used the same method for his Shadowy collection (below).
Here is what Patricia Urquiola has to say about the reasons behind a project centred around Africa:
“Multifaceted, modern Africa deserves to be known and sustained for the originality of the creative languages with which it enriches global culture. The African continent is extraordinarily rich in creativity, materials and ideas that are sources of inspiration and nourishment for us. When applied to design, they engender products which exude tradition and modernity, innovation and history, form and beauty.
I think there is so much of Africa and in this event my intent was to showcase the creativity of a few of the great artists and personalities of contemporary African culture. Going beyond the stereotypes that present Africa as a tragic or, at best, exotic experience, we want to highlight some aspects of contemporary African culture, which is in effect comparable to global culture. Looking at Africa through the eyes of contemporary art, photography, architecture and design is perhaps the most appropriate way of approaching this vast, powerful continent, so creatively rich and diverse that today it is still one of western modernity’s greatest sources of inspiration”.
There’s also Patricia Urquiola’s “bench” that sits on the sand like a tree trunk.
Stephen Burks’s creations are equally beautiful: a chair, an armchair and a range of pouffes in various sizes.
Philippe Bestenaider exhibited Binta; an armchair in sculptural form with the solid, heavy look of the baobab rooted to the ground. Binta is upholstered in multicolour patchwork wax prints. Plus the Bogolan Pouffe, made of a very distinctive material – a tyre recycling by-product – printed with decorative motifs.
On this occasion, some of Moroso’s iconic designs are also upholstered in African fabrics: Ron Arad’s Victoria & Albert and Do-lo-rez
For me minimal is divine so i have saved the best for the last, or rather shall i say ‘my best’. …bayekou, toogou and nopolou by Bibi Seck and Ayse Birse