The African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF) will take place from 9-12 November in Lagos, Nigeria.
The ACDF exhibition, to be held at the Federal Palace Hotel, is a 4-day celebration of African creativity spanning traditional and contemporary design as well as a number of product categories including sculpture, lighting, ceramics, furniture and textiles.
The ACDF initiated by the Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) is happening as part of the activities organized to welcome the 500 delegates expected in the Nigerian capital for the International Federation of Interior Designers and Architects (IFI) 28th Biennial Congress. To ensure the successful participation of pan-african designers as well as local ones, the Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) has appointed Blueprint Africa as Assistant Curator.
ACDF is the first of its kind in Africa and IDAN was keen to ensure that it showcased as much of the breadth and variety of modern African design as possible under the exhibition theme: THIS IS AFRICA. Blueprint Africa’s Managing Director and assistant curator of the ACDF design pavilion exhibition, Nana Spio-Garbrah says, “The IFI has only met on the continent of Africa once prior to this and we would have been remiss if we did not impress upon the delegates – whom are coming from all corners of the globe – that there is a dynamic interior design community on this continent, and that there are product designers, suppliers and industry experts willing and able to operate on a global scale with whom they can partner to meet the demands of their clientele.”
While the IFI Congress itself will feature architecture heavyweight and African darling Sir David Adjaye as a speaker, the Design Pavilion of the African Culture and Design Festival under the leadership of its Director Titi Ogufere thought it was also crucial to mobilize some of the continent’s most prolific designers. According to Nana Spio-Garbrah of Blueprint Africa, “It was very important to the curatorial team to strike the right balance between emerging creatives and the established mentors to whom the entire industry looks up to. It was also important to me that we have a good Anglophone-Francophone mix. This is why I am so pleased to have secured the participation of the likes of Johanna Bramble, Ousmane Mbaye and Faty Ly from Senegal; Inoussa Dao of Burkina Faso; Hicham Lahlou from Morocco among others.”
Although nearly a dozen countries are represented in the Design Pavilion, as the saying goes “naija no dey carry last” [pidgin English meaning Nigeria will not be left behind] and certainly ACDF Design Pavilion will feature a large contingent of local talent including Diseye Tantua, Studio Lani, Banke Kuku Textiles and Damola Rufai.
“Ultimately, it was a huge undertaking coordinating the participation of over 25 designers from New York to Ghana to London but everyone was excited and wanted to participate. Several designers created new pieces exclusive to the exhibition. The success of this event will mark the beginning of a shift in how people view African design. It will show that the continent is not all handicrafts and masks but offers a design ingenuity unseen elsewhere,” Nana Spio-Garbrah adds.