Africa Calling: Graphic Africa and Habitat during London Design Festival

This September during London Design Festival, British furniture retailer Habitat is hosting an African Design exhibition.

Graphic Africa will showcase over 20 pieces of new furniture by 16 designers from 10 African countries. Alongside the exhibition, Habitat is launching a textile collection in collaboration with the Malian designer Boubacar Doumbia. Habitat’s senior designer Rebecca Hoyes will working alongside Doumbia using bogolan, a traditional hand-made mud-dyed cotton, to create interiors textiles such as cushions.

South African-based designers Julian and Trevyn McGowan, who oversee the Design Network Africa (DNA) African design program, are exhibition curators. The DNA program promotes the African design industry domestically and internationally and is funded by Denmark’s DANIDA overseas development policy.

“Maybe everyone is a little bored with places like Indonesia and China,” explains Trevyn McGowan of the increased interest in African design.

“Craft is centuries old in Africa, but design is relatively new, not more than 10 or 15 years, and people are starting to see that there’s an opportunity there. In fact that newness is the reason why we need to speak of ‘African design’; it’s still in its infancy and it needs to be held by the concept of the continent.”

Other DNA design studios have created furniture items including chests of drawers and lamps that will be showcased at Habitat’s Platform space during London Design Festival.

Our recent Futurist report, Africa Calling explores the international rise of African design and culture. Keep watching the site for our coverage of this year’s London Design Festival, which will run from September 14 – October 20, 2013. – Babette Radclyffe-Thomas

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