Wednesday, March 22, 2023

IKEA Celebrates African Creativity By Collaborating With African Designers

Ikea, the Swedish company that specialises in designing and manufacturing furniture, appliances and home technology, wants to collaborate with South African and African designers on its 2019 home decor collection.

Thanks to an initiative started by Design Indaba South Africa, international home décor company Ikea is working with several African designers in creating the group’s 2019 collection. Early this month, at the Design Indaba conference held in Cape Town, a group of IKEA in-house designers met with architects, designers and creatives  from South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, Angola, Ivory Coast and Rwanda to discuss modern rituals and the importance they play in the home.

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Design Indaba is a multidisciplinary platform that champions noteworthy design, with focus on african and global creativity, facilitates creative projects, and supports creative businesses.

While fashion may be the major selling point for Africa’s creative industry, it is exciting to know that other sectors are likewise thriving.

Over the past 22 years, the Design Indaba has become one of the continent’s premier events for the promotion of African design, art and technology. The 2017 indaba is being held in Cape Town from 1-3 March, at which some of the best the continent has to offer is being highlighted.

Drawing from its extensive network of creatives, Design Indaba pulled together a Pan-African team to work with Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, to produce a series of domestic objects that aims to lay emphasis on distinctive African styles that are under-exposed in the global market.

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Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 as a mail-order business selling pencils, postcards, and other merchandise. Furniture was added in 1948. Today it is driven by the vision: “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. This is done through creating sophisticated, stylish and quality home décor. As of August 2016, the Ikea Group has 340 stores in 28 countries.

Design Indaba’s founder, Ravi Naidoo, and Ikea head of design Marcus Engman, this global brand will feature a significant African aesthetic across its range, spotlighting the work of African architects, illustrators and designers.

“The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something Ikea is curious about. We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world,” Engman told CNN.

Design Indaba 2017 promotes the work of creatives from South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, Angola, Ivory Coast and Rwanda for consideration for the Ikea project, centred on the theme of modern rituals and the importance they play in the home.

“We have learnt so much from the collaboration to date,” Naidoo wrote on the Design Indaba website. “The scale at Ikea is staggering, yet it is still true to its founding principles, with which we find such symmetry. It looks towards democratising design and is happy to be infiltrated by external ideas. In addition, we love its credo: a better everyday life for everyone. Now, urban Africa and our intrepid pan-continental group of reformers, thinkers, makers and activists will also inspire it.”

Some of the big names in African design participating in the project include renowned Rwandan architect Christian Benimana and Senegalese fashion designer Selly Raby Kane, whose eclectic, proudly African designs are a favourite of international stars such as Beyoncé and Rihanna.

The collection will launch in Ikea stores around the world in 2019. While Ikea does not have much of a presence in Africa, with its only African stores in Morocco and Egypt, Engman says the company will be using this African collaboration as an opportunity to evaluate new markets further south.

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Source: CNN, AFK Insider, Kobnini, Brand South Africa

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