A longing for the familiar tastes of home led Liberian entrepreneur, Doughba Caranda-Martin to set up Caranda Fine Foods
, a business that specialises in creating a range of premium beverages and condiments inspired by the diverse regions of the African continent. Residing in the USA, Doughba recalls childhood memories of evening walks collecting the leaves and herbs that were then boiled with Lemongrass. Doughba started out blending teas and the product range has since expanded to include coffees, cocoas and condiments like flavoured salts and meat rubs. Caranda's products are made using fresh organic ingredients sourced from over thirty African countries, featuring the very best quality from regions and countries known to produce the best; such as cocoa from Ghana; black tea from Malawi and Rwanda; chamomile from Egypt; coffee beans from Ethiopia, Kenya and , rooibos from South Africa; and Bissap from Senegal, Tunisia and Mali. Supporting local growers Doughba buys the leaves, herbs, beans and the other ingredients used from small farms across Africa and donates ten percent of Caranda's profits to groups supporting growers communities. In addition to this Doughba founded Project Momentum, an initiative which works to deliver medical aid directly to areas of need across the African continent, and every purchase of a Caranda product helps make this happen.
Tea is Caranda's speciality, with around forty varieties and constantly creating new blends, the range of organic teas and herbal tea blends are available in their pure form or flavoured with mouthwatering tastes and scents that include mango chunks, pomegranate, hibiscus, Madagascan vanilla bean, blackberry leaves, cloves, lemon verbena, cinnamon and Algerian mint; and are perfect for chilling the fridge for a refreshing ice cold, ice tea. The Caranda tea range particularly draws inspiration from the history of the San people of Botswana and Namibia, and Doughba is also inspired by the role tea plays across the different cultures of the world whether as a refreshing drink to being a central part of cultural ceremonies. The packaging is emotive, heralding the grace and dignity of a diverse African people through delicately detailed pencil drawings and captivating imagery enhanced with an array of complementary colours across tins, packets and gift boxes. Caranda's unique blends can be found in over 200 speciality stores across the US, as well as in leading teahouses, hotels and restaurants, including that of top chef Marcus Samuelsson
, whom I have featured previously on African Daydreams
...savouring and celebrating the best in premium African flavours
Products ranges on website currently priced at: USD$7 -USD$30For further information about Caranda Fine Foods and to purchase visit: www.carandafoods.com
Clinton Friedman Umbrellas
April showers having seen off a quick succession of umbrellas, has meant the hunt for yet another replacement that can hopefully withstand the wind and on and of downpours. Every time it rains here in the UK I can not help but notice how dark and dull the majority of umbrellas that get put up are...no doubt chosen for practicality they don't do much to cheer one up! I have always made it a habit to choose one as blindingly bright as I possibly can. Having previously featured the bold nature inspired prints of South African photographer and designer Clinton Friedman
, showcased across cushions and notebooks, I have now come across a range of umbrellas displaying his iconic imagery. Helping to keep the rain at bay under a cover of deliciously bright and bold graphics, the umbrellas feature an automatic pop-up mechanism and are finished off with a wooden handle.
Not just for rainy days, the umbrellas make for perfect summer accessories lending themselves as parasols to shelter from the sun as you stroll or enjoy a picnic in the park.
...colourfully striking, make you stand out in a crowd
Hurricane Lamps can be both decorative and functional when used as part of contemporary interior decor accents, especially when it comes to outdoor use, where the subdued light emitted is ideal for evenings spent on the verandah on a warm summers night and with some styles allowing for the insertion of mosquito repellant oils comes the added bonus of helping to keep the bugs at bay. Hurricane lamps were adapted from oil lamps used by sailors and comprise a glass chimney with a perforated metal lid that lets air escape whilst protecting the internal flame from being blown out. Aside from oil, Hurricane lamps can also hold a candle and in modern versions, electric bulbs. Not known for emitting strong light today they are more decorative features used to enhance existing light sources or to cast soft glows in a room if placed in an area such as a dark alcove. Note: If using a hurricane lamp that works with oil it is very important to check that it is safe for use and that there are no cracks in the glass. Hurricane lamps exude olde world charm and often attract attention of collectors who can be seen trawling car boot sales and antique shops in search of perfect, authentic specimens. The one shown here which has a gold metal casing is from Tanzanian based company, Shanga
, and is given a unique touch with the addition of recycled glass beads in a mosaic pattern.
'Shanga' is a KiSwahili word meaning 'bead' and is the name of a social enterprise company based in Arusha, Tanzania that was established in 2007 by Saskia Rechsteiner who aim was to help provide employment for skilled people with disabilities. Currently employing 42 people with disabilities, Shanga is a for-profit business, comprising a workshop and retail outlet, and a restaurant called the River House. All items produced by the artisans at Shanga, are hand made, using recycled materials and include jewellery, home decor and personal accessories. Profits from the businesses outlets are reinvested back into the business by providing work opportunities for more people with disabilities and helping to provide education for deaf and mentally disabled children. To enable customers easier access to purchase Shanga's products November 2011, saw the launch of the business's online store, Kaskazi
Lately, the unique style of Namibia's Herero Women has been the inspiration for several fashion collections, and a recent advertising campaign by Namibian footwear maker, Schier Shoes
brought a smile to my face, its embracement of this spirit of individuality and enjoyment of life whatever your age and wherever you are. Based in Swakopmund, Namibia, the company Herbert Schier has been manufacturing Velskoen shoes since 1938. Although more mainly associated with Namibia and South Africa, those from the Southern African region will be familiar with Veldskoen's or 'Vellies' as they are more commonly known, a type of rugged suede footwear that I can recall in Zimbabwe being a staple, given its durability, amongst the uniformed professions such as the Airforce and Safari Guides as well as farmers all of whom seemed to favour the shoe in a light sandy brown colour, or maybe that was the only choice available at the time!
Growing up I witnessed 'Vellies' going from utilitarian to wider social acceptance and I remember some of my friends wearing them to school, and the adoption of bright colours has seen them become the shoe for choice for artistic types and musicians, a trend which still resonates today. Although I liked the bright colours I couldn't quite bring myself round to wearing a pair, as far as I was concerned they were boys shoes! Having said that, whether you are eight or eighty the Schier Shoes campaign is bringing Velskoen's to a new generation that reaches beyond the shores of Namibia.
A pre-cursor to the modern Desert Boot, Velskoen's were first made in the 1600s when they were crafted from local raw materials using a design inspired by the footwear worn by the Khoisan Tribe. Today a small team that comprises eight gentlemen from Namibia's Damara tribe produce twenty pairs of shoes an afternoon, all made to order for shipment to the Schier Shoes retail base in New York.
Sporting a buttery soft traditional suede or leather finish, are handmade from Kudu hides that come from legal sources as part of a Namibian government conservation mandate, and as a result of the natural markings and blemishes in the hides each shoe produced is one of a kind. No nails are used to craft the shoes and features include a leather footbed, brass rivets, a reinforced leather heel counter and a simple resolable rubber sole. The shoes are hand finished using a knife to perfect the outer texture of the leather. Available for men and women some of the styles are made with leathers that have been dyed with vegetable dyes in colours that bring to mind the intensity of the Namibian desert.
Shoes priced from: USD$180-USD$235
Orders take 6-8 weeks for delivery
For further information about Schier visit: http://schiershoes.com
Rather like the illustrations from a storybook, the distinctive imagery adorning Ugandan ceramicist, Bruno Sserunkuuma's
work depict a social and cultural commentary of Ugandan life in the form of stylised figures and shapes, enhanced with elaborate patterns.
The clay surface is Bruno canvas on which he experiments with industrial oxides in a range of colours. Drawing on the culturally rich environment he lives in, the pottery forms are based on traditional Ugandan vessels, and are made using locally available materials such as Ngombe clay. Mixing the old with new, Bruno's technique is based on old Indian-Ugandan batik drawing styles, which he has borrowed and adapted to create a visually strong graphical style that would work well a feature pieces in the interior.
Through his work Bruno seeks to challenge the viewers perceptions about African art and art based on the African experience and in addition to creating his ceramics, he is also a ceramics lecturer at the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Art of Makerere
...functional ceramics that uphold the tradition of telling stories through art
Select pieces available at Afro Art in Denmark priced from: 595kr-1,975 kr
For further information about Bruno Sserunkuuma visit: www.kentaro-art.com
To purchase from Afro Art visit: www.afro-art.dk
Okha / Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Happily sitting with the curtains or blinds open long into the night I find lingering by a window gazing at the twinkling lights of the city at night, or snatching glimpses of the world going about its day is one of life's simple pleasures. And is probably the reason that when it comes to contemporary architectural features; an expanse of glass giving the illusion of having no walls, just floor to ceiling windows in the form of movable glass doors is a dream feature. Opened or closed as you wish, glass walls are a stunning feature that work to seamlessly blend exterior and interior living spaces, opening up the interior by letting in amounts of natural light and capitalising on magnificent panoramic views if you are lucky enough to have them. Although some disagree with me, this is a feature that is well suited to hot climates where interiors call for airyness and natural cooling systems that come with rolling back the doors to allow the cool breezes to waft through whilst enjoying the night air. Being able to completely open up the walls allows you to fully enjoy and interact with your living space. It was the abundance of glass and skylights that grabbed my attention whilst perusing the online portfolio of Okha
, a leading South African interior design company, who specialise in creating the kind of covetable homes gracing the pages of glossy lifestyle mags.
Designed to maximise the spectacular views surrounding them, the homes shown here were designed by Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
, an architectural practice also based in South Africa and feature stylish interiors created by Okha. Following the principles of less is more, Okha is about defining new standards in luxury African living, and their interior solutions result in stylish havens for the demanding standards of luxury modern living.
The sprawling spaces are accentuated with high quality materials and surface finishes in a style of decor that is minimalist yet quite warm. Minimalist interiors can often come across as cold and impersonal but here I pick up a sense of calm and tranquility and could quite happily spend my days perched on a chair under the skylight like the one on the Fresnaye property. In addition to interior design Okha supports selected South African artists, craftspeople and suppliers working in partnership to design and produce high quality furniture and objects that can compete on the international stage, as well as being used to adorn the spaces they create.
The innovative, often sculptural designs of the buildings are characteristic of Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects style, which sees steel supports softened by natural and organic materials like wood. An award winning practice that was formed by Stefan Antoni, Philip Olmesdahl, GregTruen, the company has a global reach having designed public and residential buildings in places that include Geneva, Switzerland, draws on the best talent to help realise their visions.
...reaching the heights of contemporary African luxury in stylish homes
For further information about Okha visit: www.okha.com
For further information about Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects visit: www.saota.com
Jewellery designer Carolyn Roumeguere
is a nomad at heart, a sentiment that is reflected in her eclectic jewellery creations such as the Swahili Choker, a stunning piece that is handmade using the precious gems diamond, sapphire or emerald, and coral. Taking a month to complete the Swahili Choker incorporates traditional Maasai beading, and features an enamel pendant and the beads sourced from Jaipur, India.
Having grown up in Kenya amongst the Maasai, Carolyn's upbringing was unconventional to say the least; her mother, a social anthropologist was married to a Maasai Warrior and Carolyn learnt her craft from the Maasai women and young girls who influenced her sense of colour, shape and design and instilled in her a passion for beads and adornment, all under the protective shade of an acacia tree. Often travelling to remote destinations, Carolyn is inspired by different cultures and began creating jewellery by recycling materials that she gathered from around the world. Today Carolyn creates new pieces, working with artisans in three continents using the methods of age old skills, such intricately carved bone and horn from East Africa, enamelling from Mexico and traditional Kundan method from Jaipur. Other materials used in her creations include copper, bronze, gold and cow horn which are combined with precious gems to dramatic effect.
Inspired by culture and a sense of community, Carolyn supports several charities donating a portion of her sales. The collection for CoutureLab
was handmade in Kenya, where Carolyn has a home within a Maasai community and works with the local women. Whether intricately detailed or a simple smooth carving, Carolyn's collections can be likened to found treasures, those picked up on travels, and laden with meaning for the owner.
..bohemian chic with a story to tell
Collection currently on CoutureLab priced at approx: £224-£4,581 / €271-€5,543 / USD$356-USD$7,284
For further information about Carolyn Roumeguere visit: www.carolynroumeguere.com
To purchase on CoutureLab visit: www.couturelab.com
Comfort & Samuel
Give your bedroom an instant makeover with a refreshing range of colourful bed linens from Comfort & Samuel
. Based in the UK, Comfort & Samuel's elegant collections, which also include cushions and personal accessories, draw inspiration from African designs and prints by tapping into the Continent's diverse textile heritage.
Comfort & Samuel celebrates styles from the homegrown such as a centuries old Yoruba printing technique called Adire Eleko, Guinea Brocade characteristed by its high thread count and smooth touch, intense Indigo and the loom woven Aso Oke; to the popular imported fabrics such as Dutch Wax and Swiss lace which have become synonymous with African style.
Made in Africa, the linens are characterised by modern takes of traditional textiles, designs and printing processes. The fabrics used include lightweight brocades that feature bold handprinted patterns, as seen on the vibrant Osun and Ododo cushions, echoing the Adire-Eleko technique, which is combined with intricate embroidery typical of traditional Hausa/Fulani designs. Loom woven silks and cottons, mainly used for the luxurious bed linen ranges, are also enhanced with the intricate embroidery detailing. The bedding sets comprise a duvet cover and two pillowcases and are lined with a lightweight brocade cotton in a contrasting or lighter colour. Embroidery is optional and Comfort & Samuel also work with clients to create custom printed ranges.
Whether colourfully bold or softly serene, Comfort & Samuel's contemporary linens and furnishings bring a touch of African luxury and sophistication into the home.
Prices on the website range from: £40-£220
For further information about Comfort & Samuel and to purchase visit: http://shop.comfortandsamuel.com
Jonathan Krawczuk for Made.com
I couldn't help but be transported to alfresco dining on a sun-drenched patio when I saw some simple yet striking coffee tables on Made.com
a UK-based furniture and interiors e-tailer that works with select designers to create original furniture designs that are sold directly to customers at affordable prices by cutting out the middle man. Sporting a bold diamond cut-out pattern that runs a ring close to the table edge, the Morocco Coffee Table sits on hexagonal legs and was inspired by traditional Moroccan tray tables.
The coffee table was designed by award-winning designer, Jonathan Krawczuk; who is based in Yorkshire, England. Inspired by industrial materials and processes, the cutout technique applied to the tables is a characteristic of Jonathan's style. The coffee table is made from solid steel finished with a glossy powder coating, and is available in two bold colours, red and yellow; or neutral Grey. Made to order, the table takes 10-14 weeks for delivery.
...simple style with a touch of Morocco
Morocco CoffeeTable priced at: £99
For further information about Made visit: www.made.com
The beauty of this woven dish radiates from its core, which features a beautifully engraved silver disc at the centre, which is said to symbolise the sun and is characteristic of Tuareg pattens. Framed with an indigo halo, the addition of the disc adds a contemporary edge, elevating the humble woven basket to a stunning decorative object, that would work well hung on the wall or placed on a plate stand.
Part of a range of handcrafted baskets, dishes and bowls made using the leaves of the dried Doum Palm Leaf, the Rayon De Soleil basket was handcrafted by members of the Tavie Co-operative
of Northern Niger, a co-operative that supports Tuareg women. The Tuareg are one of the few remaining tribes that still lead a nomadic life, fighting to preserve a culture that is facing great change to their traditional way of life. The designs of the Tuareg are distinctive one only has to called to mind the silver crosses and discs often seen on jewellery, featuring the instantly recognisable patterns. Each product is given a mark of authenticity in the firm of a silver metal tube which is incorporated into the product and bears a unique number. Entering the number on the Tavie website allows the customer to find out more about the village and origin of their purchase.
Baskets priced at: USD$68 -USD$98
For further information about Tavie Co-operative visit: www.tavie.nl
To purchase visit: www.mbare.com