Contemporary Design Africa offers a refreshing challenge to rigid perceptions of what African design looks like. Focusing primarily on interior decoration, the book presents fifty designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora who are creating sophisticated and innovative products and interiors.
An introductory section surveys the history, vitality, and diversity in African design, followed by profiles of contemporary designers grouped by craft, from textiles, ceramics, and basketry to furniture, lighting, and beyond. Some of these designers reinterpret traditional methods and styles in beautiful and highly individual ways, such as the award-winning South African organization Zenzulu, which replicates techniques of Zulu master bead makers. Sustainability and recycling are another important focus for many: Cheick Diallo, the founder of the African Designers Association, creates stunning furniture made from discarded materials. Others, like Nigerian textile designer Banke Kuku, fuse African and Western styles in colorful, visually dynamic ways.