Thursday, 9 October 2008

Fluid Solids.

Photo by Ade Omoloja

David Adjaye is to modern architecture what Barrack Obama is to world politics. David has eared global prominence through his knack for deconstructing structure and marrying fluid Art with solid Architecture. One of his most outstanding works is the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, which has quickly become a national landmark in Norway. The city of London is also blessed with his structures such as Stephen Lawrence Centre, the Ideas Store and his recently exhibited wooden pavilion, part of the London Design Festival’s Size and Matter project. His private commissions also include the designs of homes for Ewan Macgregor and best friend Chris Offili. Apart from his work in the Diaspora, David has Africa on his mind. He is determined to bring the present and ancient urbanism in African to the world stage through a project called ‘53’, for the number of capital cities on the continent. If anyone can do it, Adjaye can. In an interview with Ebun Olatoye, he puts the myth to rest about his being Nigerian. He is not. Adjaye is from Achim Akan in Ghana. He also explains his fascination with Lagos, cascading panels and alternative definitions of modernity.

Photo by Ade Omoloja

You recurrent theme of cascading panels is almost inescapable in the elements of your work, even on your business cards. What ideas inform this theme?

It’s called design. (Laughs). I am interested in exploring things, which people think are conjectural but are not, things which people think are not structure but they are. I think they are important artistic ideas and they come from other places and they’re not the sort of rational, classical way of lining things up in a symmetry. Its just another exploration of finding systems in things that you think don’t have systems.

What is the fate of the African designer in view of the fact that we have a lot of catching up to do to identify and project our art and designs globally particularly in relation to China that is quickly emerging from a period of copying to the period of creating designs?

I think it’s already affected the way in which the design culture works because essentially what China has afforded the world is a new place to imagine what modernity might mean for us now: our modernity not the modernity of the past. Basically in most western cities it’s very difficult to imagine the future except for commercial building, which are driven through by economic desire. But China is about rebuilding the entire image of the nation in a contemporary way and where it’s taken Europe two hundred years and it’s taken China twenty-five years, which is extraordinary in terms of design and in terns of what they’ve been able to show. So it’s already totally influenced my industry. We all think of what is possible post China and how we build. I think the Middle East is one to watch in terms of emerging its image of modernity. Maybe India will follow after that but the Middle East, I think, is going to be the next big image of modernity and I think it will happen even faster than China. And when I say modernity I mean developmental modernity in terms of seeing huge buildings suddenly on the landscape, which define the image of a nation.

You recently embarked on a project to document the 53 capital cities in Africa. How did that project begin and what stage is the project in now?

The project is nearly complete. It’s an idea I had to document the urban landscape within Africa. Only because I realize that even within Africa we not only divide ourselves from nation to nation which is fine, but also because of this colonial relationship which Africa has to Europe. Within Africa there is this Francophone world, this Spanish World, this Arab world and this Anglophone world and they only interact slightly because of the language difference. So for instance you know the Arabs all know the Arab countries, the Anglophones only know the Anglophone countries and don’t deal with the Francophone countries except they are bilingual. In Africa there are already divided images but in the world there are no images except for this romantic sense of Africa as a virginal continent of poverty and animals running everywhere. People don’t relate to Africa in an urban context because of the history of the last 200 years and for me I find that to be a laughable position because the first traces of urbanism come from Africa. So Africa is probably the oldest urban place on the globe and there are lots of people living here and their context of development is actually quite sophisticated even if its not developmental as in cash, their way of living and has been going on for thousands of years. I kept talking about this and getting angry that poverty and rural landscape were the only images of Africa so I just decided I would go and photograph every capital city on the continent and that is what I’ve done.

Do you have plans to ensure that the material from your project is available to the public (in and out of Africa), who have this clichéd perspective of the continent?

I teach at Princeton, I teach at Harvard, I teach at the Royal College of Art, I teach at many schools and at first I was doing it for my own database and for my own archives. But very quickly Harvard heard that I was doing it, they gave me a show and I showed about fifteen countries on the Harvard campus and basically the Press went nuts. They were like what is this, we didn’t know this existed which was really funny to me because what was very obvious to me clearly was not to many people. And off the back of that a publisher that I had previously worked with approached me and said look we have to make a book probably called 53 of all the capitals on the African continent. The title 53also helps to drum home to people that there are 53 countries in Africa not five or ten or one. It’s like 53, get it? Wide ethnic Diaspora, get it? Metropolitan, get it? I just get frustrated with the image of black, which has been squeezed down to the lowest possible denominator, one which has no complexity, no nuance except for the usual colonial crap. So although the project started off as a private project it will be a database for me and research material for people interested in these African cities.

Rem Koolhaas also worked on a similar project but his focus was Lagos. His theory is that organic combustive cities like Lagos will be the model for urban development and that Lagos represents the future of the Western megacity. Do you agree with this theory?

I think rampant urbanism, which is what the planet faces now, is something that must be taken very very seriously. We are in the most accelerated growth of urban spaces that the world has ever experienced it is literally a planetary phenomena. There are people moving from rural places to urban at a pace much faster than the earth has ever experienced. The idea of building cities is no longer something that you have 50years to plan. Rem has a particular way of analyzing and looking at the world and drawing diagrams from it. I actually love it very much but I’m not sure it’s the model for anything because I think things change so fast anyway so for me I think the idea that you talk about models starts to get a bit old fashioned and colonial for me. I don’t analyse like that I prefer to work within present systems rather than say for instance ok now Lagos is the fashion and tomorrow India is going to be the fashion. What I love about what Rem Koolhaus is doing is that finally somebody actually chooses a real hyper dense metropolitan condition and kind of brings it to the same discourse as other global cities and that for me is huge because it is putting Lagos on the map.

Did Rem’s work inspire your project 53?

No, the timing was completely coincidental. We talked about it and I wanted to know if it would be a problem but no, not at all. Rem’s project will get a lot of press and mine will come although I don’t really care about that. What I want is for the book to provide the references for how to get a deeper understanding of these cities.

What sort of relationship do you have with Lagos?

I’ve been to Lagos many times. I love Lagos. I’m a West African, how can I not love Lagos. I have a lot of cool friends there, actually friends who live here (London) but are from there. Duro Olowu (Fashion Designer) is a good friend of mine. I know Keziah Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor they’re good friends of mine. Chris Offili is my best friend.

Have you had any creative collaboration with Nigerians?

Yes, I’ve done work with Chris, he built the Stephen Lawrence Centre with me. The façade of the Steven Lawrence structure is Chris Offili’s work and it is the biggest public building by a West African in the Western World.

You haven’t lived in Ghana very much yet there seems to be a subtle link between the proud, bold Ghanaian national brand and your bold, “demanding reaction” style of architecture. Do you draw any inspiration from your home country?

Because Ghana is such a small nation, education has always been very important so now there’s been a generation of people who went to good schools around the world or whatever and you’re seeing them and they’re doing well. But also because it’s a small country it becomes stronger as a brand and there’s a feel good factor in the country right now which is very good. I think Ghana sees itself as the Singapore of Africa and that’s no secret. Apart from all of that my parents brought me up to be very proud and very conscious of my heritage. My work is about difference negotiating difference. I am Ghanaian, I’m a West African but I am not a one-dimensional person. I have lived in many places but the predominant body of my experience of living is African. I’m not the kind of African that can tell you I lived here in Africa in this year, I am a nomadic African who has lived all over the world and I think it’s a very modern idea. However my work is not about devaluing Africa, no. For me I treat the basket weaver from Accra with the same weight as any artist from Bahaus movement. I respect the creative moment that creates a piece of Art and those creative moments are powerful and my work is about tapping into that agency. For me the idea that modernity comes from one place is ridiculous to me. Modernity has to come from intellectual capacity and it’s not about playing catch up with European modernism. I am more invested in this type of thinking. It’s not subtle defiance, it’s not anti colonialism it is the democratization of design because design is a global phenomena.

Does the enormity or scale of a project ever overwhelm you?

Yes definitely, I get that every time I’m not even going to pretend about that. I’m making a building and every body is just standing there and waiting. It’s all happening live. Every mistake and every success is out there, so it’s daunting every time. When I was doing the Nobel Peace Centre I was terrified. I thought they would slaughter me but in the end they were very happy. The reviews were amazing and the national press was fantastic. They took a pawn because I wasn’t known at all at the time and it worked out really well.

Which new turn should we expect from Adjaye Associates?

I’m doing product design now. Habitat just released a rug I designed and I’m doing plates for a Chinese company also.

For more on David Adjaye’s work visit

This article is powered by Interswitch.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Pokit: Smart Pants

Above: Bayode Oduwole
Photo credits: Ade Omoloja
Stumped mannequins suspended from the ceiling on strings, clean minimalist interiors, traditional craftsmanship baptized in a blend of science and modern British design. It is called Pokit, pronounced poket or “apo, we started out making bags,” says founder Bayode Oduwole of the line which he co owns with his wife Claire Oduwole. Bayode started out as a pharmaceutical chemist but had his own ideas of good design. Frustrated with hollow fashion trends, he decided to put his time where his heart was and began making big pockets for the small but knowing clientele. Wallpaper featured Pokit in their June 2008 edition titled The Secret Elite and Mrs. Oduwole agrees that their clients often like Pokit to be “their little secret.” But Bayode has a contrary opinion, “if there is a word I could delete from the English dictionary it’s the word exclusive” he says with finality. As with Pokit’s patrons, the line has since expanded to men and women’s casual and formal wear with a specialty in suits. The label has a wide range of customers from “the 50-year-old Cambridge professor to the 16-year-old fashion kid” says Bayode. The average Pokit suit costs £700 (N161, 000) and takes two weeks to make against the average Savile row suit, which costs £3,000 (N690, 000.00) and takes four months to make. What sets Pokit apart from the pack is “modesty and honesty and this is coherent through our design and the lay out of our store. We make sure that the best quality goes into material, craftsmanship and service. With our suits, we work with silhouettes 50% of the time and the other 50% of the time we focus on how it wears. We have a modern take on making our suits. So it doesn’t matter that a person spends a week hemming a jacket because a machine can do that far quicker today and far better than it could two hundred years ago when the sewing machine was first made.”

Above: Claire and Bayode Oduwole
Photo credits: Ade Omoloja
Running features in Pokit’s designs are domes, round edges, earth, and hexagons inspired by Richard Buckminster Fuller- an American architect who was famous in the 1950s up until his death for his geodesic domes. Pulling inspiration from America, England and Japan, Oduwole maintains that he is a Nigerian citizen of the world and the Pokit brand is a global brand. His clients are also global which is why he vehemently denounces the ethnic tag. In a passionate crescendo he argues “A designer is a designer, if he is good he is good. Too often I get people coming to me saying they got a scam fax from someone in Nigeria, and what I ask is, did you send the money? The one who sends the fax and the one who sends the money are both complicit in the scam. The only thing is the white man is thinking ‘those spear slinging Africans can’t possibly be clever enough to swindle me’. For too long the West has used the Nigerian tag negatively and I refuse to be the ethnic on the block.” When asked if there are Nigerian influences in his designs he says in Yoruba“When I am creating, I think to myself, I don’t want to get verbal abuse in Yoruba because it stings so I know I better do this right”. Needless to say Pokit’s women’s summer collection featured a row of tweed skirts broken with damask bands. “If you look at it and you recognize damask as Nigerian then fine, but otherwise, just enjoy it as a good design.”

Pokit is located on 53 Lamb Conduit Street, London UK
This 2020visionng article is powered by Interswitch.

Friday, 19 September 2008

East or West, Which is Best?

Ken Livingstone is no longer Mayor of London but he remains keen on design. This is why when the Financial Times sponsored a London Design Festival talk on creative cities, Old Ken as he is fondly called, was one of the three panelists summoned to the table. The other panelists were China expert Philip Dodd and the master of successful design cities- Tyler Brule- Founder of Wallpaper and Monocle magazines.

Since the oppressive success of the Beijing Olympics and the declaration by the World Tourism Organisation that China will be the biggest tourist destination by the year 2020, China has been on the lips of designers and politicians around the world. It is no wonder that the focus on successful state capitals at this debate was Beijing, China.

The Bird's Nest: China's National Stadium.
Photo credits: EO

China’s image enjoyed a long overdue varnish through the eyes of the limited numbers who attended the Beijing games. The Bird’s Nest has become the nation’s iconic symbol and their national design campaign from the grand opening ceremony to the day-to-day sights and sounds and the droves of voulounteers helped to create an effective modern spin on traditional Chinese culture.

This brand success is no accident. Preparations for the Olympics cost a modest estimate of 40million US Dollars. These funds were channeled into training volounteers, English lessons for the scores of taxi drivers who drove visitors around Beijing, the new subway lines, the new airport terminal (largest in the world), connecting Beijing to Tianjin with the fastest train in the world (two hours away by road reduces to 23minutes at 350km/hr) The list is endless.

Tyler Brule- Founder Wallpaper and Monocle, Philip Dodd- China Expert and Former Mayor of London- Ken Livingstone.
Photo: Ade Omoloja

The debate leap frogged the established success of Beijing as a successfully designed city to the question of how England is to learn from China considering China’s seeming complexities, the language barriers and the 2012 London Olympics.

Philip Dodd offered the answer brilliantly: “Five million Chinese are learning English and 500 English people are learning Chinese, it is clear, they will understand us far sooner than we understand them”

Although Chinese numbers may be tough to beat, Ken Livingstone concurred with Philip by recommending that Chinese is taught in primary schools across England.

40, 000 Chinese nationals live in Lagos and enjoy their own newspaper in Chinese script as the number of Chinese investments grows by the day. Yet the crucial question for us is, how many Nigerians are learning Chinese? How is Nigeria managing its relationship with China? What can Nigeria learn from China as a successful tourist destination and a growing success as a brand?
What is the design master plan for Nigeria by the year 2020?

The annual tradition: A photo with Ken Livingstone
Photo credits: Ade Omoloja
This 2020visionng article is powered by Interswitch.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Design by Definition.

Above- Ade Omoloja: Design Photographer for 2020visionng
Photo EO.

It's the sixth edition of the London Design Festival and this will be our third year of attending the event.
This year, our trip is powered by Interswitch, the Nigerian company that has redesigned our transaction lifestyle in Nigeria.

Like the 2020team, Interswitch has designed goals towards our nation's vision of the year 2020 and they are deliberately taking steps towards achieving those goals. See Interswitch website for more details see:

This is the theory of design: to achieve a desired end by deliberate planning and action. describes design as: adaptation of means to a preconceived end; to assign in thought or intention; purpose; to form or conceive in the mind; contrive, plan; to intend for a definite purpose.

As the nation makes it's plans for the year 2020, Interswitch in collaboration with the 2020visionng team are making deliberate efforts to design a plan for human capital development in Nigeria.The London Design Festival is a magnet for the best of creative genius from around the world. 2020visionng will spotlight the Nigerian and some African designers who are key players on the global platform.

Stay tuned for more interviews and profiles of Nigerian designers in graphics, picture making, fashion and architecture from the London Design Festival on 2020visionng.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Pure Greetings

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

FADE (Fight against Desert Encroachment) seeks camerawoman.

Renowned Nigerian environmentalist- Dr. Newton Jibunoh is leading a bright green trail across the Sahara desert with a group of four. As he turns 70 on January 1 2008, this will be Jibunoh’s third and last trip across the world’s largest desert. The objective of the 60 day expedition is to raise awareness on the effects of desertification on desert dwellers, global warming and climate change. The expedition will attract local, continental and international media coverage as part of its objective to shift desertification to the fore front of international climate change discuss.

This is also Jibunoh’s first time to be accompanied by others professionals including an auto mechanic, an IT specialist, a journalist and a cameraperson who will work together to make a documentary of the experience.

We are seeking an experienced African camera person who is capable of withstanding the ruggedness of the desert and has experience in documentary film making. A female camera person is strongly preferred.

To apply for this position please email your CV and a short compelling essay of why you should be chosen to Remuneration to be discussed upon application.

FADE- Fight Against Desert Encroachment.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Under Cover 3

“I chose this book whilst waiting for a long haul flight and even though I usually go for authors rather than the titles or book covers, this cover looked inviting. I felt it would be light and fun to read on the plane so I bought it and didn’t regret it.” –

Bola Atta
Editor- True Love Magazine.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Under Cover 2

I met up with Sade Adeniran in London this year when summer was fading into autumn. She bubbled into The Odeon Cinemas at Sheperds Bush with two copies of her book-Imagine This. One copy to be reviewed in True Love West Africa where I work, and the other for my reading pleasure. Imagine This was a pleasure at first sight. A cleverly angled painting floating in a sea of white clear space. The self published author created the concept for her book cover with the help pf Graphic Designer- Olamide Adetula. Imagine This enjoys rave reviews in London, and Sade is soon to sign a far more rewarding deal with one of England's top publishers.

Of the cover art she says: "the artists' name is Jonathan Gladding and he's an American working in St Lucia. I've know Jonathan since my University days in the States and saw his work when I went to St Lucia in 2001. I asked him if I could use it for my book cover and he agreed."

Below is a link to Jonathan Gladding's website-"

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Happy Day!

"More commonly, savvy publishers leave it to the designers. In the 1920s and 1930s, publishers regularly used fine artists, such as Ben Nicholson, to provide covers, and artists were only too happy for the steady income. "- Tom Dyckhoff.

A little birdie told me that a leading publisher in Nigeria will be consulting one of the graphics designers featuted on 2020visionng for their book covers. They're certainly the savvy ones.

Stay tuned for details of that transaction.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Under Cover...

...lies a brilliant novel or not. Whilst combing through the Internet for statistics on book sales and their relations to book cover designs, I found a brilliant piece by Tom Dyckhoff for the Guardian here-,6000,552107,00.html. After I read this article I abandoned my search as Tom more than sums up the whole point of my post. His article also chronicles the journey of book cover designs since the 20s till now, and how these designs have changed over the past eight decades.
I know for sure I am guilty of impulse buying in book stores. I remember last year I spent 40pounds on a fashion book I didn't need but found irresistably appealing and suffered for two weeks living on spaghetti and bread sticks. Many of us buy books we have never heard of based on the colours, textures, and words on the cover design. I've asked five people to share this experience starting with dear friend and fellow blogger the notorious Jeremy Weate of

“The Amado - has a distinctive cartoonesque cover - a woman with large brown eyes and lips carrying manicured roses. She looks like a brazilian diva leaving the stage to thunderous applause. Who was I to resist buying it?”

“The Alsanea - has a completely distinctive design - each letter is made up of embossed blips that are a little like sequins. They catch the light in an interesting and subtle way. The title, Girls of Riyadh, is semi-concealed by the general patterns on the cover - a nice metaphor for the concealed lives the characters in the novel have. Although the book was in an obscure corner of Heathrow's Borders book shop, and I was tired, it still caught my eye like a jewel shining in a heap of rubbish.”

Thursday, 8 November 2007

The good Logo.

The logo is a critical aspect of a brand and according to brand experts; the five key elements of a good brand are position, promise, personality, story and associations. Interlocking Cs, the star in the circle, the bitten multicolored apple... Without an explanation for these logos, would we know to interprete Chanel's logo as a clothing line, Mercedes's logo as a luxury car manufacturing company or Apple as a software company? Do you we understand these logos by interpretation or by association? Before I direct your attention to the logo below, let me confess at once that I designed it about three years ago for one of my own companies. I was very excited about it at the time but now I look at it and doubt that it translates the company's personality. So now I ask you, what does this company logo bring to mind?

Thursday, 25 October 2007


I run a fashion label called Earthtones. The pieces below are two of my favorite since I started designing clothes. Introducing Rebel Bride and Sunshine.

Model: Tunde Aladese
Photo: EO

Rebel Bride by Earthtones

Sunshine by Earthtones

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Nick Rawcliffe at Deploy

Londoners are invited to another open house event at Deploy Workshop featuring furniture designer Nick Rawcliffe. Details below...

Dear DePLOY Friends,

Following the success in Paris Pret-a-Porter 'SO ETHIC' show (sponsored by UK Trade Investment), London Design Festival, and numerous press coverage on DePLOY's unique approach to fashion (eg.
DePLOY is pleased to invite you its upcoming private view party featuring sustainable product designer and RCA graduate, Nick Rawcliffe.Nominated for 'Best New Exhibitor' at this year's 100% Design in London, Rawcliffe's extraordinary furniture designs include 'hive', a hanging chair made from sustainably sourced birch ply, and coffee tables made from recycled coffee grinds -- a perfect compliment to DePLOY's sustainable fashion ethos.

Please join us for this exceptional event on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at our flagship store DePLOY workSHOP, located on 148A St. John Street, EC1V 4PR. Drinks and special discounts on DePLOY collections and Rawstudio furniture from 6 to 10 pm.

RSVP or (0)20 7250 0199.

DePLOY is open daily from 11am-8pm, Monday to Saturday. We look forward to seeing you there!"

Friday, 19 October 2007


I nearly fell out of my chair with excitement yesterday when I saw the work of designers Karo Akpokiere and Chukwuma Ngene of The Seek Project- Karo and Chukwuma are graduates of General Arts (ND) and Graphics Design (HND) from Yaba College of Technology now City University of Technology, Lagos. The two members of the team share an alma mater as well as a love for urban youth culture. Their hip hop influence is evident in their graffiti designs on stools and their emotive illustrations inspired by song below. During the day they work in a brand management firm and at night, they exercise their design skills for their own private pursuits.

Stareface and her outstanding headgrear.

The illustration below is inspired by the song Le bien; Le Mal by MC Solaar and is available for download as an eps, CorelDraw and Illustrator file. All the seek project team require is that users credit the source of the image to the designers and send them a photo of what was created with the image.

OMA: No exclusivity to the acronym.

The Graffiti Stool

One of the most impressive features on the Seek Project web site are images of Karo's shoe design from start to finish. He calls the design Alterna; comfortable walking shoes made for people with flat feet.

"The Alterna design represents my passion for shoe design and it was my diploma graduating project. I wanted to learn a bit about the practical arm of footwear and to build a portfolio with the aim of using same to score an internship position with a shoe design/manufacturing firm where I can learn about the shoe business in detail with the plan of setting of a proper lifestyle shoe and apparel brand. Also if the opportunity to mass produce this design comes along I definitely will not be averse to that."- Karo Akpokiere


Thursday, 18 October 2007

Design a Life: The Science and The Art

I have often marveled at the science of plotting the graph for a successful life. People like Mozart, Tiger Woods, The Williams Sisters and Michael Jackson were child prodigies whose parents successfully designed their lives to ensure that they became outstanding in their fields. I contrast that to stories of people like Steve Jobs, whose lives are designed inadvertently yet successfully by a passion for what they love to do. Steve Jobs’ biological mother went to great lengths to ensure that her son went to college. And he did, for one semester, after which he dropped out. However Jobs dropped in on some calligraphy classes which helped him to develop multiple typefaces for the Mac computer used the world over today. My mother’s refrain regarding any project has always been “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. I have been haunted by that maxim all my life because I am far too spontaneous to plot a scientific graph, at least not for life, but am more inclined towards the art of living every day fervently. I was comforted and inspired by Steve Jobs commencement address to the graduating students from Stanford University in 2005. Follow your heart and the dots will connect looking backwards. See link to Steve Jobs' sppech here


Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Design Jockey Session

Lanre Lawal won the inaugural edition of the International Young Design Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2005. His intriguing collection of graphic, web and multimedia designs over a period of five years swayed the judges in his favour. Lanre is the CEO and Creative Director at The Design Jockey Sessions. He studied Mathematics (Science) at Lagos State University and the mélange of his academic foundation in logic and his intimacy with Lagos’ dynamism reflects strongly in his designs. He speaks to 2020visionng about his products and the future of design in Nigeria.

Did you think you would win the IYDEY award in 2005?

I was optimistic about the Nigerian award. After making it past 140 Nigerian finalists, at home here, I had to be even more optimistic about winning in England. I got 7,500pounds to spend on a project.

What did you spend the money on?

I had a lot of sketches of products and I spent the money making those products such as the Armistice chair, The Longitude Wall Shelf, a CD rack, the Lawyer’s Gambit Bar stool and various other products. A number of these products were unfortunately damaged by DHL whilst in transit to London last year for the 100% expo at Earls Court. The few that made it were exhibited and have been on various design websites around the world.

How has your background in Mathematics aided your design skills?

First, the central skill to my design career is three dimensional animation. Within 3D, there are the Cartesian xyz axis nodes that enable peeking 360 at the object or mesh being modeled. Another personal reflection is that imagination precedes logic. Logic, another word for Math, seems a subset of imagination…like a state capital, while imagination is the Planet. I find the word 'imagination' to be an accurate description of my work. First I feel, then imagine, and then practice. The practicing process is assisted by logic. So the laws of perspective (sans McLuhan's ideas) for hand-drawing, applying Design Software and Math are logic-based assistants. You may need to apply logic to make imagination coherent.

What do you find most fascinating about Lagos?

The kinetic diversity, instant familiarity, colors in the sky, the native language, all the buses Warhol in front of you and Technicolor is a sunset away. A sense of freedom you can't rationalize when things could actually be dangerous and laden with uncertainty. Happiness is more intense here. It makes a knife out of your alertness. Authenticity is paradoxically cheap and folks are ready to put passion in anything; no matter how trivial. I am very in touch with Lagos and Lagos is very central to my work.

Is design profitable?

On the personal level; design is my calling, I have spent eight years in the field, and the answer is yes, design is very profitable. It was toil for a while, and gradually one got more clients who trusted my creativity with their brands. On the national level, we’ve not even begun to articulate what design represents in the Nigerian canon. All endeavors in Nigerian design while having existed have not been categorized or documented for commercial value. There is design within in the arts context and there is design in the industrial context. I am interested in design in the industrial context which is actually far more profitable. This is where you design a car, a shirt, a pair of shoes, a chair and make 400 or 4000 pieces of it exactly the same. I think there needs to be a system that encourages the awareness of design (whether in the traditional media, formal education or blogs like these), and how revenue can be derived from design even at a small scale industry level. Things like that put into motion and looking at the UK who derive 25% of their GDP through the creative industries and looking at London that is being celebrated as the design capital of the world. We can take a studied cue from the UK's creative industries and apply our own indigenous culture to industrial design.
All images, products and designs in this post by Lanre Lawal.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Hennumi and DEPLOY Tactics

Nigerian designer Tosin Trim promotes an appreciation for the value of unwanted fabric and clothing by reusing them to create the most fascinating accessories. She works with left over aso oke from cloth weavers and abandoned gele from friends and family. Tosin also sources fabric from DEPlOY; a demi coture and multi functional womens wear label which enables its costumers to put their clothes to a wade range of uses by recycling design. "My aim is to make the fashion process less wasteful, more sustainable and more interactive with the end user" says DEPLOY's Creative Director Bernice Pan. Dresses that are detachable into three individual pieces; a blouse, a cummerbund and a skirt are some of the nifty designs that can be found with the label. The dress photographed below for instance can be worn as two designs; front to back or back to front. Hennumi and DEPLOY's design approach allows for more efficient use of material, human resources and the end product.

Photos: Ade Omoloja
Models: Abisola Odutola and Tosin Trim
Location: DEPLOY Workshop 148A St. John Street London EC1V 4PR

Environmental Scientist- Abisola Odutola models the reversible DEPLOY gown.
Tosin Trim in DEPLOY's reversable evening gown and a Hennumi head piece.
Tosin Trim wearing one of her Hennumi hair accessories.
Hennumi purse made from recycled aso oke.

Design is logical, creative, intuitive, business.

The 100% design exhibition is a Mecca for design enthusiasts around the world. Individual buyers seeking new directions from designers of light, furniture, fabric, accessories throng the venue. More importantly, corporate trade buyers are key attendees. Many multi million pound transactions are spun off at the exhibition as buyers meet designers one on one to discuss the possibilities of trade.
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Norway, Japan, Slovakia, Spain, Lithuania are some of the regions that were represented at the 100% Design Exhibition this year. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University also had a stand womanned by Christine Tsin and Jenny Ma pictured above. The stand showcased some of the most outstanding projects created by the school's graduates with exhibits including furniture, lighting, tableware and interior accessories. Our 2020vision team is dedicated to bringing to best of Nigerian design to bear also. So that next year a sign labelled 100% Nigeria will host our country's best at the 100% design exhibition.

Random scribbles from design thoughts.

2D Seyi Taylor.

Dr. Seyi Taylor is the Chief Creative Officer of his design company Noah69. He is also one of the National winners of the 2007 International Young Design Entrepreneur Award. In Seyi's upcoming interview, he shares details of his transition from a medical career to a profession in design.