Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor who specialises in contemporary African culture. Under her belt is the Time Out Group's series of guides to Lagos and Abuja (Nana was Editor-in-Chief) along with consulting gigs for established publications on West African culture for the Danish Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts. Furthermore, Nana was nominated for CNN's African Journalist of the Year in 2011.
In Marrakech's Medina sits Ministero del Gusto, a showroom for one-off furniture, jewel design and vintage fashion, featuring artists from all over the world . As well as a gallery, Ministero del Gusto is a studio that works on house renovations, interior decoration and house planning projects, creating work that is contemporary with a strong Moroccan influence.
- Morocco Independence Day – A celebration of architecture and interior design
- Tunisia Independence Day – Celebrating beauty and design
- Afritecture: Exploring Africa's Influence on Contemporary Architecture
- The best of 2011: African and African-Inspired Fashion, Interior and Furniture Design
I am embarassed to say that Afri-love's 3rd anniversary just slipped by me! On June 11th, I was on a train back from London after modelling in the Shape Custom Creations Afrika Milele show (one of the most exciting fashion shows I've experienced – the epitomé of good vibes!). In my exhaustion, I forgot what a great moment it was.
As they say, better late than never. It's quite timely actually because, after 2 months or so of travelling, returning, catching up and getting back to 'normal' routine, I'm finally back in the groove of things. You may have noticed that post frequency is starting to pick up again! It's fitting that we get things going with, first, some thanks – a HUGE THANK YOU for reading and interacting with me, here on the blog, by subscribing and via Twitter and Facebook too – it all makes this labour of love so much more satisfying and; second, a little reflection with a look at the top 5 posts from the past year. In reverse order:
A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!
Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.
The passionate Amina, aka sheroxlox, is one of the lovliest people I've had the honour to meet in recent years. Find out what drives her.
I've been working with the East Africa-based designer for a little over a year now and I feel so lucky to be collaborating with somebody who creates beautiful things and has such a good spirit too. Today marks the launch of her new website and online shop, created by yours truly and the rest of the Asilia team.
One day I will finally visit Lamu in person (and hopefully before the new port is built as, I worry that it will change the nature of the town). Until then, I will lust over all the beautiful homes I've discovered, thanks to my best friend, the internet. More Lamu finds on the blog.
What posts did you enjoy most over the past 12 months?
For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time:
- Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
- Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
- 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, Andrew Mugoya
Hope you've had a great holiday season so far. I thought I'd take these few days before 2012, to put together a recap of some favourite Afri-love posts (yours and mine) from the past year. Today – it's all about design.
I first came across furniture designer Yinka Ilori's work at the African and African- Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD) exhibition a couple of months ago. His use of bold colour and pattern drew my eye. I later learned that Yinka specializes in upcycling discarded furniture. Passionately against the unnecessary waste of consumerist culture, Yinka is doing his bit, one piece of furniture at a time. Today, the London-based designer and entrepreneur shares his story.
I missed the Re-Loved Lounge last month: African & African-Caribbean Design Diaspora designers transformed a space at the annual 100% Design show into a playful sitting area with upcycled furniture.
Laurence Kanza, aka La Petite Congolaise, was one of those designers and she shared a picture for all of us who couldn't be there – a before and after shot of one of her upcycled dining room chairs.
During my trip to Kenya in April, I finally properly visited Tribe. A luxury boutique hotel, it refreshingly pays homage to the continent on which it sits. When you walk into most luxury hotels in Nairobi, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking you had stepped right in to New York or London. It almost seems to imply that anything of value must not display any "Africanness." Except perhaps through a little painting of a safari landscape, tucked away in some hallway. With Tribe, Africa is on display in every direction that you look and it's beautiful!
"Tribe takes hospitality back to its essence. Back to the nomadic days when any weary traveller was greeted with warmth, invited to feast and exchange stories, and rest in the comforts of home … a very comfortable home."
And to prove again that being true to yourself brings due reward, Condé Nast Traveller (US & UK) recently selected Tribe for The Hot List 2010, as one of the Hottest Hotels in the World!