The Museum of African Design is the first museum on the African continent dedicated to design. A cultural hub, rather than a collecting institution, “MOAD” devotes itself to exploring the ever-changing African continent and diaspora.
The MOAD property (a former automotive “panel-beater”) was purchased by Propertuity Pty., the developers of the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg, in 2011. The space has hosted numerous gallery exhibitions and events. In June of 2013 renovation began on the site to accommodate more parking and building upgrades. The Museum of African Design officially opened at the end of October 2013.
The Museum of African Design is dedicated to being the foremost museum of African design in the world. The Museum of African Design manifests its commitment to this vision by documenting the dynamic world of African design; by presenting exhibitions and educational programs; by collaborating with partner institutions around the world; and by supporting unparalleled scholarship on African design.
To achieve these goals, The Museum of African Design recognizes:
- That African design is not limited to a race or a geography.
- That African design is not limited to an aesthetic or a singular history.
- That African design is global.
- That design and art, and their intermediary genres and manifestations are not meant to be clearly defined or limited. Design can encompass any form of expression, and the arguments around its boundaries are part of an open-ended discussion that can be explored in museum exhibitions and discourse.
- This commitment to African design is Pan-African in nature.
- That Design Thinking is essential to the world, and especially to Africa’s future.
In sum, The Museum of African Design seeks to exist as a space for conversation, research, and response to the issues of African design – past, present, and future – in an environment that is accessible to everyone.
Aaron Kohn is the Founding Director of the Museum of African Design, Design Curator of the upcoming AKAA Fair in Paris, and Advisory Board Member of Flux Fair NYC. After finishing a degree in African Studies at Columbia University in New York, Aaron began working with designers from across the African continent. As co-founder of African Lookbook, Aaron placed 30+ designers from Africa in museum shops across the United States, and the global retail chain Urban Outfitters. In his role opening the Museum of African Design in the Maboneng Precinct in Johannesburg, Aaron has helped develop new museum practices in Africa, and is passionate about networking institutions from around the world.
MOAD formed its first Board of Directors in the beginning of 2016. Before that, an Advisory Board oversaw and supported the efforts of the institution.
The Chair of the Board is Hilton Lawler, has led a successful career in various packaging and retail companies. Most recently, he has worked with Coca Cola, where he holds a senior Marketing Manager position, working across countries in Africa. He held operations and business development roles within the organisation, and lived in Nairobi for two years. Lawler also sits on the Board of BASA – Business and Arts South Africa.