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.

Zaha Hadid's Z car.

The Design Museum in London features a full scale exhibition of Zaha Hadid's architectural plans, domestic products, furniture, paintings and sketches revealing the diverse range of her work. Zaha Hadid has over 25o staff currently working with her and they have over 5o projects running simultaneously for clients across the world in China, Singapore, Istanbul and Dubai. One of her most stunning exhibits at the Design Museum is her Z car; a concept which fuses art and transport. The design has however been subject to severe criticism as being a vanity project which could do nothing but look good. Zaha proved her critics wrong when her maverick agent Kenny Scachter found a manufacturer in Monaco who plans to make the three wheel art road worthy.
Perhaps it's time to dig out my little brother's train models...

Nigeria- By Accident or Design?

The Famous Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas contends that Lagos represents the future for the western megacity. A group of design students of Nigerian descent projected ambitiously that Nigeria would become the design capital of West Africa by 2020. In their projection, Lagos is the capital of West Africa and 95% of the populations commute by surface rail.

On Thursday July 19, 2007, Jeremy Weate, a Nigerian by adoption wrote on his acridly controversial blog: “How about taking the most ambivalent of objects- the Nigerian passport and turning it, through creative means, into the most positive statement of a progressive Nigerian identity?” Predating Mr.Weate’s proposition, Nigerian Blufunk artist Keziah Jones’ employed the theme of the Nigerian passport for the cover of his albums Black Orpheus and Black Orpheus Limited in 2003 and 2004 respectively-

Leke Alder a Nigerian Image consultant solves social and economic challenges with the tools and principles of design. With his legal background and creative abilities he redesigns the brand of banks, embassies and nations. Leke Alder was enlisted by the Nigerian government to rebrand the nation. He rebranded Nigeria using a mixture of in your face and familiar design concepts to position the country as the Heart of Africa.

These people have one thing in common, a vision for a greater Nigeria that is restlessly globalizing, but is propelled forward by a strong design culture whether tangible or intangible.

However rebuilding Nigeria requires more than the work a few, but the cohesive efforts of an army of brand and design consultants who are constantly being stimulated by ideas from within and without.

Whether or not we are conscious of it, a sense of design aesthetics pervades every level of the Nigerian society, from the ghana-must go bag which now graces international catwalk to the multi-coloured flip flop slippers and the mobile architecture of the danfos and molue signage.

The antecedents to this contemporary design culture can be found in the lost wax of 15th century ancient Benin, 2000 year old Nok terracotta, the Nsibidi hieroglyphics of the Ekpe, the soap stones of Esi in contemporary Ilorin. The Yoruba tie’n’dye cloth art, aso oke and many more. Unfortunately, beyond adornment and sartorial detail, most of this design heritage is not being used today as a spring board to project contemporary concerns in the way modernist painters such as Picasso and Matisse used African design sensibilities to give to rise to European modernism.

Dubai was created in 1971. 25 years later it has evolved from third to a first world country and has become a favorite holiday destination amongst Nigerians. As a result Nigerians have reportedly begun spending their disposable income in the Emirate instead of England. This has prompted the British Embassy in Nigeria to begin issuing visas to Nigerians with renewed and competitive vigor. Dubai earns 3% of its revenue through petroleum and natural gas, but year after year, a greater percentage of their income is earned through tourism. Similarly Singapore, the city state of wonder in South East Asia became an independent nation from Malaysia in 1965. The mainstay of the country is gained through tourism and the magical features which the country boasts of today were completely designed through the dedicated efforts of a few mavericks. Today, Singapore is the 18th wealthiest country in the world.

Futuristic countries like Singapore and Dubai are established testimonies to the fact that first world countries can be made not by accident but by design aesthetics projected and built line by line, colour by colour, texture for texture and brick by brick. In order to begin our march towards a design culture for Nigeria we must embrace the culture of deliberate design; a culture that insists that our space life becomes the exact blueprint of our design culture.


Image sourced from True Love South Africa

Saturday, 22 September 2007

A Ken sense of Design.

At the grand opening of the London Design Festival on Monday, 17 September 2007 at the Royal Festival Hall. Ken Livingstone; Mayor of London embraces design as the key tool into making London one of the world's favorite travel destinations. He recruited the famous Architect Zaha Hadid to design the Aquatic Centre in London which was a key feature in London's bid for the 2012 Olympics. According to Ken 15 million tourists visited London last year and he attributes that traffic to design. Whether it is the preservation of culture, the tangibility of England's history, or the independence of public transport that tourists enjoy London is designed purposefully to work and to be a successful tourist destination.
In his interview, Livingstone reminisces about the one and only time he visited Nigeria in 1966 and how he spent four weeks living on a tent on the beach in Lagos.

On London as Design Capital of the World vis a vis Financial Capital of the World…

“A lot of people worry about London losing its position as the financial capital of the world, but I don’t worry about that. 15 million visitors came into London last year and they didn’t come to look at our bankers in suits or our great financial institutions. They came for culture and design. I would much rather London is number one in design than in the financial sector.”

On Zaha Hadid’s contributions to design in London, and the bid for the 2012 Olympics…

“Zaha came up with a design for our Aquatic centre that was breathtaking and she deserves an award for that. It was stunning! The IOC (International Olympic Committee) members saw it and thought, this is great Architecture and that is where we want our aquatic events to hold. Zaha struggled to make sure the original concept survived; she fought to make certain that the centre would be there to inspire millions of people who will walk past the Aquatic Centre in the decades to come. As long as this city attracts people like Zaha to work in it, our future as a centre of design and creative industry is secure. If you doubt that, Zaha has just flown in from Paris where President Sarkozy assembled all the greatest Architects in the world to tell him how to bring his city to life and how to help bring France out of this long period of relative recession and depression. He recognised that you do it not with the great industries or the great financial centres, but you do with your artists in every field of culture and design.”

On design and developing countries…

“A lot of people feel that developing countries need to replicate the western patterns of development of heavy industry and so on. But with the nature of technology, telecommunications, the Internet and international travel, I think developing countries would want to leap frog the industrial and go straight t o the service sectors.

If people come to Lagos because they are excited about a dynamic city; they will come for that. They won’t come because it’s developed with loads of industrial plants or because of its oil fields. They will come because of the arts and the culture.”

On his one time visit to Lagos

“I haven’t been to Lagos since 1966 when I was 21. I’m told it’s changed. When I came I slept on the beach at Lagos for four weeks in a tent. And every morning I left my possessions in the tent set out, went to explore the city and came back and all my belongings were there. I was there on holiday on holiday at the time. I will come again but I won’t lie in a tent on the beach though.” (laughs)


Photo- Ade Omoloja