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.


Continue reading “The best of 2011: African and Africa-inspired fashion, interior and furniture design”

Malene B: carpets & interior decorating inspired by Africa



Malene Barnett
's custom handmade carpets are inspired by her international travels, love of all things cultural and her African-Caribbean heritage. Above are pieces from her signature collection, Wolof – inspired by traditional Wolof fashion and, Timbuktu – inspired by ancient mud architecture of Mali.

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Dream homes: Swahili-inspired architecture and interior design in Lamu, Kenya

Poolside alcove Lamu house



I came across this beautiful Lamu home in Architectural Digest a couple of years ago. The aesthetic resonates with what I want for my living space and, to think that this beauty is in my homeland? Makes it even more fabulous a find. I actually ripped out a page to put up above my desk – a constant reminder of one of the things I'm working so hard for. 

I'm glad that I found an online version of the article so that I can share it with you all. Check out Architectural Digest for more pictures.

Photography by Tim Beddow (found on Architectural Digest)

Inspired: the House that its Environment Built



A few years ago, I stumbled upon this beautiful coastal house on the website of stylist and photographer, Pia Jane Bijkerk. It is home to Kenya-based, Italian designer, Marzia Chierichetti of Be Clever Ltd.

What I love most about the house is how it uses local materials and works with its environment rather than stand out like many an eyesore seen on our continent. A lot of hotels that I've visited on the Kenyan coast do attempt to incorporate local materials and local style sensibilities (e.g. Swahili architecture) into their interiors and exteriors. Some very successfully, some less so. It would be great to see more homes do this (and inland too, not just on the coast). Let's explore, take advantage of and enhance the unique beauty that exists around us!

Images via Pia jane Bijkerk. See her post to learn more about the house and see it in all its splendor.

The best Tribe in Africa


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!




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!



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


Week in review and a time for action


What about us?
This past Friday, young Nigerians around the world demanded of their presidential candidates, "what about us?"

Forming the majority of the population and over half of registered voters in the upcoming elections, Nigerian youth recognised and asserted their need to be heard and addressed. The What about us? campaign called for the first ever youth-focused Presidential Debate. Organised by Nigerian Youth empowerment groups in Nigeria and the Diaspora, though diverse, they share a common belief that the time for change in Nigeria is now. And that young people have the power to make it happen.

I missed the live streaming of the debate but I witnessed the momentum in advance of the event via social networks. Did you catch it? What were your thoughts?

Columbia University African Economic Forum
I also caught some snippets from the 8th annual Columbia University African Economic Forum, via Twitter. Below are a few from twitterer, Karen Attiah:

"We cannot just wait around for good leaders to emerge. We've got to start doing things today. Lets empower people – Deverajan"

"Audience comment: If Africans abroad stopped looking at ourselves as insignificant compared to our governments, we could make a difference"

"Financially, borrowing money maybe looks cheap, but the stigma of begging at the World Bank every year is more expensive – Moyo"

"Fundamental problem with aid is that it severs the social contract between people and the govts who are to provide public goods -Moyo"

 "What are we as educated Africans, and the intl community who cares about Africa, going to DO? -Moyo"

"This PR strategy of convincing us as Africans that we cannot contribute to global development -Moyo"

It's interesting to see how Africans (and especially the youth) are campaigning for change in different ways – and how technology is helping to engage Africans in the Diaspora and involve them more directly in what is going on at home. I for one, am very grateful for this!

So, what are we going to do in the way that we each can contribute to change?


Last week on the blog


Here is a recap, in case you missed anything:


Thanks as always for taking the time to read and to share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get blog updates as well as extra links, ideas, news and info via facebook (afriloveblog) and twitter (@afrilove).

Have a great week everybody, be proud and be inspired!

Lulu x


Image copyright Sarah Markes




Tunisia Independence Day: Celebrating beauty and design

Menchari house

Yesterday, Tunisia celebrated 55 years of Independence from France, no doubt made sweeter by the recent triumph in toppling authoritarian president, Ben Ali, after 23 years in power. Rather than spend this post further commemorating this revolution (I'm sure several others have done this well so I would like to share something different), I would like to draw your attention to beauty and design.

Continue reading “Tunisia Independence Day: Celebrating beauty and design”

Week in review

Lesley-of-Ododo-Originals wir



Ghadames wall design wir


I am fortunate to have spent Christmas with family and friends, eating good home-cooked food and sharing laughter. I hope that all of you who celebrate the holiday had a good one and that all of you who don't and had the opportunity to take a break, had a refreshing day. With just one week until we step into 2011, I find myself putting myself under pressure to properly take stock of the year and plan ahead for the next one. I'm making it a point to keep dragging myself back to the present moment and not stress toooooo much about all the expectations that come with the New Year milestone. We'll see what happens over this coming week though!

Here is a round-up of all of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the year
  • A round-up on the 9 most popular posts of the year
  • What satisfies you? I want to know…
  • Sudan Independence Day
  • An end of the year TGIF! special

Have a fantastic final week of 2010. Be proud of all you've learned, discovered and achieved and let it inspire the year ahead!



Images from top: Lesley of Ododo Originals, Khadambi Asalache's house, AfroCubism artists, Ghadames wall art from Libya and Amani ya Juu quilts


Inspired by Khadambi Asalache


This is the home of the late Kenyan poet and author, Khadambi Asalache (1935-2006). Considered a pioneer of modern Kenyan literature in English, Asalache was also a fine artist. He transformed, by hand, his modest London terraced house into an incredible piece of art that he left to the UK's National Trust. Inspired by Islamic, English and African art, 

"His work encompasses stories of migration and immigration, exile and return, a narrative which is common to the lives millions of people from all continents. The fact that it is hidden in an 'ordinary' English city terrace is all the more intriguing."

— Elsie Owusu, Founder, Society of Black Architects (full quote here). 

Read more about Asalache and his house here. Currently undergoing a £4 million renovation, the house will be open to the public in 2012.


Images via Linda Nylind/Guardian. See more here

Week in review






I've had a great many interesting conversations this week. Observing the extreme ways in which people respond to ostracization – becoming their best selves or retreating inwards with destructive results. Debating whether seeking numbness is ever positive or healthy. Discussing herd mentality and how several corporate systems (in the widest sense: commercial enterprises, religious institutions etc.) ignore the uniqueness of individuals resulting in missed opportunities and individuals unable to fully realise who they really are. I'll be blogging about more of these subjects soon. In the meantime, here's a round-up of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • A worldwide celebration of thanks…
  • Design inspiration from a South African illustrator
  • An interview with a US-based artist with a powerful story (and absolutely beautiful paintings)
  • Inspiration from that classic book, Africa Adorned
  • Reflections
  • TGIF!

Have a fantastic week! Be proud and be inspired.


Images, starting 2nd from top: old-school album art, necklace by Made, still from a Serengeti Studio production, Moroccan inspiration.