The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines
Style + Substance

IKEA Africa

A-list designers from across the continent set to launch collaborative collection in 2019.

COURTESY OF IKEA

Though the companies couldn’t be more geographically separated, Swedish furniture giant Ikea and Cape Town–based Design Indaba have long shared an important passion: making the world better through smart, creative design. And now, the two are uniting their efforts to accomplish that goal in Ikea’s first collection by African designers.

“The creative explosion which is taking place in several cities around Africa right now is something Ikea is curious about,” says Ikea design manager Marcus Engman. “We want to learn from this and spread it to the rest of the world.”

Set to launch in 2019, the Ikea Africa collection will feature the work of 12 designers, architects and other creatives from seven African countries surrounding the theme of “modern rituals.” To kick off the collaboration, the selected designers gathered with Ikea’s in-house team in Älmhult, Sweden, and later continued their work together at Design Indaba’s annual conference in March.

The team of 12 chosen African designers collaborated with Ikea’s in-house team at the company’s headquarters of Älmhult, Sweden.
COURTESY OF IKEA

“What most excites us about this collaboration is that it is not just ‘Afrocentric design,’ with typical African patterns and colors,” says Clerissa Visser, spokeswoman for Design Indaba, “but rather African design in the sense that the creations actually come from African designers, whatever their look and feel may be.”

The final collection will include around 40 pieces, from furniture to homeware. And though the specifics are still very much in process, the collaborative prototypes displayed during the recent conference offer glimpses of what’s to come — from a household rug design by South African knitwear designer Laduma Ngxokolo to a circular wooden bench by Kenyan husband-and-wife duo Naeem Biviji and Bethan Rayner.

“It’s immensely rewarding to finally see African design step to the fore as a respected community,” adds Visser, “instead of being appropriated as a stereotypical style by non-African creatives.” 

COURTESY OF IKEA