In 2015 the Museum of African Design and Director Aaron Kohn were invited to participate in the first art and design fair focused on Africa taking place in Paris, Also Known as Africa. The fair, which took place from 11-13 November at the Carreau du Temple, was attended by some 15,000 visitors over the same weekend as Paris Photo.
Aaron Kohn curated a small exhibit looking at architecture and design called "To a concept...:"
The 21st century is putting African design on the map.
Africa has become a canvas for design, whether conducted by local or international designers. Major infrastructure projects and entrepreneurial endeavours are providing demand for architects, industrial designers, and urban planners.
Firms in New York are competing for sites in Gaborone, Botswana, pushing the boundaries of the field and winning competitive awards. At the Venice Biennale, a top award is given to an expat redefining life in Lagos, Nigeria from Amsterdam, Holland.
Design firms are licensing African architects’ designs for office furniture in law firms and accounting offices around the world. Of course, many of the best concepts on the continent are only that—imaginative, and may never be realised. But, it is in that light that ideas and notions of what Africa means continue to change.
At its core, design surveys society and proposes new ideas. Whether it is through city planning, fashion design, or social development, design builds on what came before and tests new ideas of what could be. To a concept… is a look at theoretical drawings, timeless architectures, and even tangible furniture that collectively arrive at a new and changing idea of Africa.
Shaun Gaylard, Blank Ink Projects (Johannesburg)
Unknown Union (Cape Town)
Olalekan Jeyifous (Brooklyn)
Patricia Urquiola for Mabeo Furniture (Gaborone)
Piratas du Pao (Maputo)
David Adjaye for Knoll (London)
The Joburg Pavillion - Johannesburg, David Adjaye (London)
Zeitz MOCAA - Cape Town, Thomas Heatherwick (London)
Innovation Hub - Gaborone, SHoP Architects (New York)
Torres Rani - Maputo, DSA Architects (Johannesburg)
The Old Dispensary - Stonetown
The Grande Mosquée - Djenne
The Makoko Floating School - Lagos, NLÉ Architects (Amsterdam)