New African Designers are Changing the Game Internationally
Across the continent, African designers are tapping into the richness of their cultural heritage to newly striking and sophisticated effect. The global style cognoscenti are captivated, says Lucia van der Post.
It was at an exhibition called Guild on Cape Town’s V&A waterfront that I was struck by the fact that the pieces I loved the most, the ones I wanted to wrap up and take home with me, were by a designer from Burkina Faso, one of Africa’s poorest countries.
There before me were what the organisers, South African design platform Southern Guild, described as “celebrated global galleries and institutions showcasing ground-breaking limited-edition design”, including works by some of Europe and America’s finest artists. Yet it was the battered-metal table (from $4,500) and Gongosso cabinet (from $4,900) made by Hamed Ouattara in a small workshop in Ouagadougou that grabbed my attention with their vitality, creativity and strange, wayward beauty. When respected Milanese gallerist Rossana Orlandi saw his first collection, she bought the lot.