I had promised to release one full Micro Trend after my trend lecture during the Barcelona Design Week 2017. The question actually was which one to pick. The most different of the four is probably HYBRIDISATION. Working currently on the next four micro trends I will lecture about in 2018, this a current keyword that pops up again very often and in different senses.
Things fell into place when attending the inauguration conference at the Barcelona Design Week and hear Ravi Naidoo (founder of Design Indaba) speak about Africa, one of the most diverse societies in the world where heterogeneity is the main driver. He considers design as a shift of consciousness that changes behavior.
HYBRIDISATION – A Lifestyle Trend for Autumn/Winter 2017/18
Designers, artists, creatives living in Africa are mixing references from their own heritage, ethnic backgrounds and traditions to come up with new shape, color, and fingerprint.
With growing migration towards larger cities, cultural roots are melting embodying a different narrative of what ‘roots’ mean today. Hybrid culture celebrates the spirit and energy of African life.
And when I say Hybrid Culture I am referring to the coexistence, harmony, and synchronization of oral culture, written culture, printed culture, media culture, and cyberculture mixing all of them and produced by individuals.
Cultural exchange takes place in larger cities. Migration leads to bringing artisan skills into a new context.
You can see a lot of Cross-Culture collaborations happen because melting pots such as Cape Town encourage designers to team up with international brands. HYBRIDISATION takes place at different parts of the world, but Africa is the actual hot spot with a deep interest in preserving culture and reframe a narrative.
This is not a movement that will be ‘out of trend’ in 6 month but something to watch med/long-term. We nominated it anyhow a lifestyle trend because it’s very coming very strong now and will eventually be integrated and merge in seamless into Europe’s design landscape.
There is a very fascinating generation of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, and mavericks shaping today’s landscape.
A rising street and studio photography aims to encapsulate, again, own heritage but adds practices of adopted cities called home now.
But before we dive into the colorful and positive vibes of HYBRIDISATION, let me share with you a phenomenon of our times which is Duality.
We are in a moment of duality, a quality or status of having contrary parts, that live side by side.- Gudy Herder
Being connected 24/7 vs being totally disconnected (at least during digital detox phases), fast consume (fast fashion) vs ‘less but better’ or minimalism vs maximalism.
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This is one of countless examples where a dual identity plays a larger role in the artist’s creative work. With a swiss father and a Guinean mother, Namsa Leuba embodies the ability of juxtaposing, reworking and challenging African identity through Western eyes.
His impeccable furniture and objects challenge the common perceptions of African design with their mix of ancient wisdom and contemporary sensibility. A creative risk-taker, Diallo trained as an architect and designer in France, before establishing a studio in his home city going back to Mali. His team of artisans manufacture objects from everyday detritus – from bottle tops to old tyres.
The knitwear project started in 2010 with Laduma Ngxokolo’s desire to explore knitwear design solutions that would be suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). His vision was to create a modern Xhosa-inspired knitwear collection that would be suitable for amakrwala, who are prescribed by tradition to dress up in new dignified formal clothing for six months after their manhood initiation. As a person who has undergone the process, Laduma felt that he had to develop premium knitwear that celebrates traditional Xhosa aesthetics which he then eventually reinterpreted into modern knitwear.
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EYTYS x ESTHER MALANGHU
was launched in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013 with a sneaker and accessory line. When the Swedish sneaker and accessories brand Eytys approached South African artist and teacher Esther Mahlangu about a partnership, she had a full schedule at age 82. She is known for her bold large-scale contemporary paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage. In Ndebele society (referring to ethnic tribes from South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe), mural painting and beadwork are the domains of women. Mothers teach their daughters both of these arts and so the practices are passed down generation after generation.
Doktor and Misses is a Johannesburg-based multi-disciplinary product design company creating hand-painted pieces of limited-editions that have been exhibited in Basel, Dubai, London, New York and Miami.
At first glance, Asiyami Gold’s Instagram page is a visual experience that has her distinct personality behind it. The warm colors, landscapes of cities all over the world, and self-portraits make you wonder where she’s from — and that brings us to her photo guide to Abua, Nigeria. “Although underdeveloped, Abuans find joy in what they have,” Gold explained about her home.
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Since launching her label SRK in 2012, she has shot straight to the top, becoming an icon of the alternative scene in Dakar. ‘I see myself contributing to the rebranding of Senegal and the continent by generating niche content,’ she says.
is an artist and architect from South Africa. She explores a variety of different projects, from patterns and products, to murals and art. This is a stackable storage system and cooperation with the furniture making company De Steyl located in South Africa, too.
is already a well-known name in South Africa’s fashion industry. Both, his impeccable taste in clothing and his camera skills makes him a key player to watch. He defines himself as a Global African. He has a very interesting Instagram feed to follow.
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Africa Rising is a must-see fashion shoot London-based photographer Ed Singleton did for models.com with an eclectic mix of embracing own culture displayed on an amazing set with South Sudanese beauties, Ajak Deng and Angolan, Maria Borges.
This is another example of a Traditional Ndebele mural art that has inspired this plywood desk but in a very diff. colored scheme we can relate on here in Europe.
Much awarded fashion designer Marianne Fassler has spent over three decades in the fashion business. She operates her creative workshop in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. Her designs exude a sense of Africa that is unique and inspiring. Using her knowledge of design and her understanding of South African cultures.
Africa is a continent with 54 countries, it is not possible to bring all styles, cultures and movements together in one post, it is too diverse. The aim is to share a fascinating process that takes over a design scene, is reflected at the world largest design conference Design Indaba (Cape Town) or itinerary exhibitions such as Making Africa. Go visit if it comes to your city, it’s worth seeing it!
I will leave you with a quote from a the great Danish artist Olafur Eliasson that Ravi Naidoo was sharing:
We are more likely to see change come from culture than politics, as culture enjoys more trust now than politics.- Olafur Eliasson
You can see the corresponding trend panel I did for HYBRIDIZATION in this post published a few days ago and also get a peak on the other three trends.