This September during London Design Festival, British furniture retailer Habitat is hosting an African Design exhibition, Graphic Africa. This exhibition showcases a uniquely African aesthetic, with important work by 16 leading designers from 10 countries in East, West and Southern Africa who have been selected for their diverse voices, refined and innovative products and distinctive global identities which represent the vibrancy and distinctive expression of a new African identity.

Picking up on the current trends and exciting developments in design happening across the continent, South African-based designers Julian and Trevyn McGowan, who oversee the Design Network Africa (DNA) African design program, are the exhibition curators.  The DNA program promotes the African design industry domestically and internationally and is funded by Denmark’s DANIDA overseas development policy.

Trevyn and Julian McGowan

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

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.

As part of Graphic Africa, Habitat is collaborating with the Malian designer Boubacar Doumbia to create a limited edition textile collection. Working with Rebecca Hoyes, Habitat’s Senior Designer, they produced a collection using bogolan, a traditional hand-made mud-dyed cotton, to create interiors textiles such as cushions exclusive to Habitat.

“Fishermen brought the mud from the Niger River and we worked through the designs in the extreme Senegalese heat. I wanted to explore the contemporary possibilities of the technique, and we are all very happy with the results” – Hoyes from Habitat

The Graphic Africa cushions will be sold exclusively at Habitat flagship stores in London and are £30 each. Graphic Africa runs from 14th September to 20th October as part of the London Design Festival.

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