Lianne Burton is a respected design champion, speaker, trend analyst and proponent of African creativity. She distinguished herself as founding editor of the South African edition of Elle Decoration magazine, editor of House and Leisure, and head of communications for Cape Town’s successful 2014 World Design Capital bid.
Lianne currently consults on brand strategy and content development to a diverse range of companies, with a particular focus on social innovation and sustainable design. She was part of the team that developed Cape Town’s groundbreaking Policy on Arts, Culture and the Creative Industries, is an associate of The Creative Leadership Consultancy and serves on the Advisory Board of Future Cape Town.
Let’s sit back as she shares a few of her favourite things with us in this week’s Top3Tuesday.
3. Alara Concept Store by David Adjaye
I first heard about this luxury style showcase in the heart of Lagos from Terri Behan at the Business of Design conference. Alara’s tightly curated collection of African fashion, textiles, furniture and art is seamlessly presented alongside high-end Western designs in an iconic building by the acclaimed Ghanaian-British architect. Founder Reni Folawiyo says she conceived the store ‘to show Africans that we create and enjoy objects of exceptional quality and beauty’. Although the intricate metalwork of Alara’s façade is inspired by traditional Yoruba Adire cloth, Adjaye has succeeded in making a bold statement of African luxury that absolutely avoids cliché.
2. Cheick Diallo’s Sculptural Chairs
I’ve been hankering after a Cheick Diallo chair since I encountered one on the Design Network Africa exhibit at the Guild Design Fair in 2014. It was love at first sight. Diallo’s sculptural pieces – meticulously crafted out of discarded materials by a team of skilled artisans at a studio in his hometown of Bamako, Mali – integrate local making traditions, contemporary design sensibilities and issues of sustainability. Trained as an architect and designer in Paris, Cheick has exhibited across the globe, at leading design fairs and biennales. He’s at the cutting edge of a really exciting movement that is elevating African design.
1. The Upcycled Art of El Anatsui
It’s hard to believe that the vast, intricately ‘sewn’ and draped installations of Ghanaian El Anatsui are made from many thousands of aluminium bottle tops. Collected in and around Nsukka, Nigeria, where the artist has his studio, the tiny fragments are painstakingly beaten, shaped, arranged, photographed – and often re-arranged many times – before being stitched together with copper wire by specially trained artisans. Anatsui’s awe-inspiring sculptures have found a home in many major international museums, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the British Museum, London, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, the de Young Museum, San Francisco, the museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, to name a few. For me his work symbolises the resourcefulness and boundless creative energy of the African continent.
Follow Lianne’s pinterest board and enjoy a lot more of her favourite African design trends.