The soothing, nourishing, regenerating and healing properties of West Africa's indigenous plant life forms the basis of a range of 100% natural skincare products formulated by Senegalese based business, Chouette Mama
. The business was founded in 2007 by Phil and Geraldine Pernin, a French couple with an interest in botany, that led them to relocate to Popenguine, a small village on the Senegalese coast with idea of setting up a laboratory creating natural skincare based around plants that have been used locally for generations. Virgin sesame oil, shea butter, essential oils and plant extracts such as baobab, hibiscus, moringa, okra and kola nut are formulated to create a range of body lotions, vegetable based soaps, shampoos, massage oils, shea butter balms and exfoliating scrubs. Chouette Mama products are sold throughout Senegal and West Africa and have been gaining international interest.
Chouette Mama products are produced in partnership with members of the Popenguine community including; recruiting and training local women, sourcing from local suppliers and producers of raw materials; and collaborating with local artisans who help create the product packaging and display elements such as wooden boxes, soap dishes and bags made from African fabrics.
...Africa's natural beauty.
For further information about Chouette Mama and order enquiries visit: www.chouette-mama.com
Tucker Robbins - Africa bed
Recognisable by the slightly raised pillow at one end, and supported by chunky tapered feet, elegant simplicity defines the iconic hardwood beds of the Senufo, of Côte d’Ivoire. Traditionally used for resting throughout the day, the beds are carved from a single plank giving them a solid and sturdy appearance. Inspired by the design New York based Tucker Robbins
have produced a more contemporary version of the bed, which features a recess to insert a mattress and comes in a single size that is ideal as a daybed, and a double. Taking care to retain the simplicity of the bed’s shape, the Tucker Robbins Africa Bed, gives off such a feeling of rest and relaxation that I cannot help but think how suited they would be in a spa. Made from Ebonized Mountain Pine, the Africa bed is available with an optional headboard.
Tucker Robbins is a US-based furniture and interior accessory design company that draws inspiration from global cultures. An intrepid traveller, Tucker Robbins founded the company over twenty-five years ago, as he sought ways to combine good design with ancient traditions and crafts. Weaving, carving and organic materials are just some of the techniques incorporated into Tucker Robbins products. The company is invested in sustainable practice, buying and recycling raw materials, such as hardwoods sourced from around the globe that in some cases have been used before, and others that are more than a hundred years old.
Tucker Robbins Africa Bed priced at: USD$2,400-USD$9,300
For further information about Tucker Robbins visit: http://tuckerrobbins.com
7000 years of Egyptian culture and tradition embodies the luxury jewellery collections of Egyptian jeweller, Azza Fahmy
, whose elegant, statement designs you cannot help but visualise adorning the necks and wrists of Cleopatra and Nefertiti. Like the legendary ancient culture that influences it, Azza Fahmy jewellery is elegant and regal, featuring handcrafted intricate detailing in gold and silver precious metals, and vibrant, shimmering gemstones, that help lend a contemporary edge.
[Image credit: Six Strand Floral and Fruits Collection - Azza Fahmy]
Azza Fahmy began her jewellery career forty years ago when a book on 'classical jewellery during Europe's Middle Ages' compelled her to learn more about jewellery making. Turning away from a career in interior design and further formal studies, Azza chose instead to learn her craft amidst the passageways of Khan El Khalili in Cairo, becoming an apprentice to one of Egypt's most highly skilled master craftsman. This was during the seventies, and in pursuing an apprenticeship; Azza was challenging some of the cultural and socially acceptable expectations of the time. After two years of hands-on training, Azza went on to study more of the theoretical side of jewellery making in London, courtesy of a British Council fellowship, returning to Cairo in the early eighties where she set up her eponymous workshop, Azza Fahmy, assisted by two workers.
[Images credit: top, Classic Silver and Gold Earrings; bottom left, Silver Tassel Chain; bottom right, Bracelets - Azza Fahmy]
Azza is inspired by traditional Egyptian jewellery, and during the early years of her workshop began to explore the culture and history of Islamic design, combining her findings with a love of architecture seen in sleek sculptural forms, resulting in a distinctive signature style that has awarded Azza an international reputation as the leading jewellery designer in North Africa and the Middle Eastern region. Poetry is another of Azza's passions, and led to the sought-after Azza Fahmy signature 'Culture Collection', which sees meaningful and inspirational verses traditional poems, rendered in elegant calligraphy and inscribed into bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and key chains.
[Image credit: top, Filigree Winged Scarab Pendant; bottom, Winged Khepri Scarab Ring - Azza Fahmy]
The connection between culture and the designs produced at Azza Fahmy is very much at the heart of the business, and has seen Azza become a cultural ambassador for country, earning Azza the title; 'First lady of cultural jewellery'. This role has seen Azza travel extensively, sharing her insight and creations in more than two hundred international exhibitions. To day Azza Fahmy, employs over 170 people in roles that include handcrafting, designing and marketing.
[Image credit: Pharoanic Vulture Collar - Azza Fahmy]
...jewellery fit for a queen
Azza Fahmy jewellery priced at: £100-£4,280For further information about Azza Fahmy and purchase enquiries visit: www.azzafahmy.com
House & Garden
Flipping through the latest issue of House & Garden
UK (February 2013) I came across a design editorial inspired by African craft and design. Co-ordinated by decoration editor, Gaby Deeming, bold bright colours, graphic prints, textures and handicrafts are combined for a modern take on African interior style. Products used to pull the looks together include leading African designers and producers; beaded cushions from Soboye
; Eva Sonaike’s
distinctive, signature fabrics in the form of pouffes, cushions, notebooks, upholstered armchairs, as well as lining walls; woven telephone wire bowls in contrasting graphic swirling patterns from Zenzulu
; striped black and white beaded animals from Monkeybiz
; and a wax cloth umbrella from Babatunde
. African design continues to make its mark in international design.
Global Views – Camp Stools
For those who prefer 'glamping' to camping, these beautifully crafted camp stools, from US-based home decor wholesaler Global Views
, are just the thing to bring a touch of colourful contemporary glamour to the Safari Chic style. Safari Chic is a long-standing classic style that tends to represent African interior style, and whilst I am not against ebony and ivory palettes per se, and not forgetting the must have staples zebra and leopard prints, I do find the style often needs a bit of a shake-up to bring some excitement to it. In their bright eye-popping colours these camping stools bring the fun factor, although, probably more suited for the city than the bundu- can just imagine the pop of electric blue against the golden savannah making you an instant target for dinner!
In an update of the camping stool, the usual hardwearing khaki canvas fabric for the seating is replaced with luxuriously quilted cowhide leather in aqua, white, citron, orange and striking Zebra. The seat perches atop three slender wooden legs that criss-cross in the centre, and tipped with silver where the legs rest on the floor for an elegant finish.
For further information about Global Views and stockist enquiries visit: www.globalviews.com
Working for many years in the design industry, I have always been fascinated with the way brands develop, the stories behind them, and so have delighted in watching innovative luxury tea brand, Yswara
blossom into something truly special. When I was first introduced to Yswara about a year and half ago, the brand was still in its infancy, developing its visual face so to speak, and whilst their current website was being created, their blog had some insightful information on the evolution of their logo and icon, which if I remember correctly is based on the Chi Wara, itself a well-known African icon, in the form of a headdress representing the antelope, that were carved and worn by the Bamana people of Mali. Yswara's resulting logo pays homage to African tradition, heritage and culture, and to me also looks like the sun radiating warmth. As a tea lover, the Yswara brand holds much appeal for me, and can appreciate the thought, care and attention to detail that has gone into creating an exceptional tea drinking experience.
Inspired by the ancient tea drinking traditions across the African continent, and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Yswara appoints itself as the 'curator of precious African teas', creating a space to indulge in the luxury of taking the time to enjoy the tea drinking ritual, and the precious moments of life. Tea lover, Swaady Martin-Leke, who hails from Côte d’Ivoire, created Yswara upon observing that although Africa was a leading exporter of tea, there were no luxury tea brands coming from the Continent and set out to change this. Yswara's sophisticated tea infusions and blends are produced in small quantities in a process that involves ensuring only the best leaves are hand picked, sun dried and hand rolled. Beautifully packaged in signature ebony and gold copper, and named for warriors, queens and mighty kingdoms, Yswara teas offer an adventurous journey into the legends and rich histories that have defined and captivated the Continent for centuries.
Accompanying the tea drinking ritual and reflecting the beauty of the African continent, Yswara has also created a range of handcrafted accessories in the form of; an elegant collection of spoons entitled 'Secret Garden' that were created by South African designer Pamela Schroeder; the majestic 'Akan', black earthenware rimmed with gold detailing tea set that was created by South African artist Adrian Lombard; and home scents from the Johari la Africa candle collection created to transport you to ancient, inspirational cities of Africa, including Accra, Marrakech and Abidjan.
Yswara offers personalised corporate and gift hampers that combine their speciality teas with carefully selected gourmet treats and fine champagnes, and a by-appointment exclusive high tea (currently only available to those in Johannesburg) allows attendees to partake in the Yswara experience first-hand. Yswara teas are now available in Nigeria through selected retailers, and for the truly devoted tea lover and customer Yswara introduces Yswara Privé, by invitation only and is the place where one can have a bespoke teas created, make use of a tea sommelier on hand to recommend teas for your social events and gain access to Yswara's social calendar of exclusive tea collection previews, and VIP fashion and arts events.
Yswara tea and accessories priced at: ZAR100-ZAR1995/approx. USD11.36-USD226.55/ approx. EUR8.54-EUR179.39
For further information about Yswara and to purchase visit: www.yswara.com
The New Year is well under way, and how busy it has been already. I hope it has been a good start for you all.
Last year was a period of reflection and growth for me as I took the steps of turning daydreams into reality, and some of the projects I have been working on are finally beginning to see the light day, a development, which towards the latter half of the year took me away from posting on African Daydreams as frequently as I would liked to have done. Not complaining though, and as the year progresses I have my fingers-crossed that my projects begin to bear fruit... and I hope too, that your dreams come true for the year ahead, and that you will continue to join me on the journey of exploring and discovering the delights of contemporary African design and creativity on African Daydreams.