Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Design. Show all posts

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Rural Modern Library

The new generation of local Washington, DC public libraries coming on line have been referred to as "striking ... buildings that sit like aliens in their neighborhoods, thoroughly unlike their surroundings—and intentionally so." Two of the libraries--Hillcrest and Washington Highlands library/Bellevue--were designed by British architect David Adjaye -- who's of Ghanaian descent and was born in Tanzania.

In the video clip below Adjaye walks a young resident of Bellevue, a community that has seen decline since the the mass exodus of the middle class in the 1980s, through his design of the library. He talks about the power a library--one of the only public funded spaces dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge, hope and possibility--has in affecting its local community.


Already there are signs of a "library effect" in the spate of new development projects coming to the area. Lydia DePillis writes in Washington City Paper:
... local ANC commissioner and Friends of the Bellevue Library president Dionne Brown says she's fielded calls from developers excited about the new building, which is totally unlike anything the neighborhood has ever seen. "It created a signal," Brown says. "It created a ripple in the local economy."
She argues:
...the kind of architecture that reinvests neighborhoods with a sense of pride and erases the mistakes of the past is important, even if that means not every neighborhood gets something new. If you start looking at statistics already being collected on the new buildings—the rate of new card registrations in the old libraries vs. the new ones, or overall number of items checked out—you get much better bang for your buck.
Burkinabe architect Francis Kere has shown that rural African communities can also make use of other kinds of scale modern architecture can bring to, for example, a rural school building - as in his now famous design of a primary school building at Gando. Below, Hunter College's Kate Parry reaffirms how the library allows the notions of public space, community wellbeing, community pride and empowerment to all overlap. Using the example of a small village library she's been working with in Southern Uganda, she notes that libraries in rural African communities are not only centers for disseminating literacy but they also double as a hub for other community building activity.


FAVL's thoughts on building rural libraries in Africa - here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Advancing Bilingual Design Between Arab and Latin Typographic Worlds

 Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès is the founder of the Khatt Foundation Center for Arabic Typography, which is dedicated to advancing design research-- especially bilingual typographic research and design--and typography in the Middle East, North Africa, and their diaspora.

With the recent release of Arabesque 2: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia, it is time to revisit AbiFares' Typographic Matchmaking in the City project which brought 5 teams of Dutch and Arab designers together over a period of 18 months to explore the relationships between Arab and Latin typography, typography and architecture, as well as the visual musicality of calligraphy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Algeria: Contemporary Art Inspired by Islamic Traditions of Craft and Design

from the Victoria & Albert Museum:
Algerian born Rachid Koraïchi has won the £25,000 Jameel Prize [international art prize awarded to a contemporary artist or designer inspired by traditions of Islamic craft and design] for a selection of embroidered cloth banners from a series entitled Les Maitres invisibles (The Invisible Masters), 2008. Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, Hasan Jameel and Ed Vaizey MP, presented Rachid Koraïchi with the prize at a ceremony at the V&A on Monday 12 September. The Judges felt that Rachid’s work matches the aims of the Jameel Prize through its qualities of design and reliance on traditional craft. They particularly admired how he has made his great spiritual and intellectual lineage accessible to all through the graphic language he has created out of his artistic heritage. Koraichi uses Arabic calligraphy, and symbols and ciphers from a range of other languages and cultures to explore the lives and legacies of the 14 great mystics of Islam...

...The work aims to show that the world of Islam, in contrast to contemporary perceptions of crisis and violence, has another side entirely, evident in the tolerant and sophisticated writings of great Muslim thinkers and poets such as Rumi and El Arabi. These ‘masters’, whose fame has spread even to the West, left an imprint on successive generations and their message is just as relevant today as when first written down (more).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Africa: Nokia's World

According to the Nokia blog:
Nokia sold it one billionth phone in Nigeria in 2005... 12 of the top 15 devices in Africa, are Nokia brand handsets. With the two Nseries devices in the top ten. The N70 in 4th and the N73 in 7th. 
Infomatic below shows evolution of Nokia handsets (click to enlarge). Other surprising facts about Nokia phones and Africa - here.

The Economist video below explains why handset makers like Nokia rule Africa:

H/T: Online Marketing Trends

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Africa: The Africa Centre - Past and Future

On Friday the Guardian postd a pic of architect David Adjaye's vision for how the Africa Centre's Grade-II listed building in Covent Garden, London, might be restored.

Authors Ngugi wa Thiong'o & Abdilatif Abdalla back in May 2011 share fond memories about the center - here.

H/T: African Art in London

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Africa: Videos for Ongoing African Contemporary Art Exhibits @ the Tate and MoMA

First collaboration between the Tate Modern and an art institution based on the continent, in this case the Center of Contemporary Art, Lagos.

Above, Adolphus Opara (Nigeria) on his portraits of Nigerian diviners posed in the manner of classic Victorian portraiture and Michael MacGarry (South Africa) talks you through works investigating the ongoing ramifications of imperialism in Africa. Kader Attia (France) talks his images projected in "Open Your Eyes" and Sammy Baloji (DRC) walks you through archival photos about mineral extraction powerfully reconstituted around new realities of mineral extraction in the DRC.

BBC slideshow - here. Reviews by Africa Art in London - here & Africa is a Country - here.

Below Justice Albie Sachs, one of the first judges appointed to South Africa’s new Constitutional Court by Nelson Mandela in 1994, walks with curator Judy Hecker through the exhibition Impressions from South Africa, 1965 to Now, still showing @ MoMA:

More @ the show's blog.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Egypt: Graffiti - Commitment to Communicate

Is there an art style of the Arab spring? No. Rather, there is a commitment to communicate using any means necessary - Guardian's Johnathan Jones on Arab Spring art exhibit showing in London
Al-Masry Al-Youm: How did you get started and why? El Teneen: It all started on 26 January, when I was at a protest. I thought that even if the revolution didn’t succeed, there should be traces of it left for people to see. I never did any street art before, and stencil was a good compromise because it was quick and easy. I started with a picture of Mubarak, which was great fun. It became a new way to express myself. Before, the internet was the only place where we could honestly converse. On the street, we simply couldn’t talk freely, especially not about Mubarak. Through street art, freedom of expression moved from virtual space to the real world - excerpt from Al-Masry Al-Youm Camille Lepage's recent interview with Stencil Street Artist, El Teneen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kenya/Nigeria: Collagists

Wangechi Mutu (Kenya) on the making of her "obssessive" collages (more here and here.) and, below, Gerald Chukwuma (Nigeria) on making his collages from used up phone cards.

H/T: Naija Feed

Friday, July 15, 2011

Kenya/Ghana: Threatening to Farm on Neglected Roads

To protest the local government's 24 year neglect of a road, the denizens of that part of Nairobi take first steps in turning the road into a banana patch. Best case for urban agriculture we've come across. Below, Kwesi Owusu's 2010 look at urban vegetable farms in Accra city, Ghana, grown on the land under electricity pylons, using human urine as fertilizer.

Explore the "Africa" tag over at fab City Farmer blog.

H/T: Timbuktu Chronicles

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kenya: Lots of Masai Shukas at the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 Menswear Fashion Show

LV men's style director, Kim Jones, explains why the fashion trendy keffiyeh was colliding with iconic masai patterns at last week's Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2012 Menswear Fashion Show...

...According to Grace Kerongo in the Nairobi Star:
At its simplest level, it is about the idea of travel and what it means at this point in time. After all travel forms the foundation of the Vuitton brand. (more)
Come to think of it, doesn't LV have its own icons which they don't take kindly to others appropriating? Anyway, the group of Moroccan women, captured in 2000 by photographer Hassan Hajjaj, flip the coin and script when they appropriate LV to the hijab.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Egypt: Cairo's Al-Darb-al-Ahmar

Oliver Wilkins' 2009 short documentary looks at Al-Darb-al-Ahmar, a district in Cario where in the past highly skilled artisans plied their trade creating some of the world's most beautiful Islamic architecture.

Since left behind by modernization, the doc looks at how conservation, restoration and the publicity generated is bringing new sorts of demand.

H/T: CairoObserver

Friday, June 10, 2011


Jugaad Urbanism — an exhibit featuring the work of urban designers inspired by the resourcefulness of ordinary citizens in India - from solar powered rickshaws to a canopy made of recycled oil cans...

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.
H/T: Cairo Observer

Monday, May 16, 2011

Africa: Township Barbershops & Thoughts on New Social Spaces

Head to KMBA for some pics from British photographer Simon Weller's book “South African Township Barbershops & Salons” More pics - here.

Against the backdrop of barbershops as remnants of social spaces that still foster interactions in our increasingly wired townships and cities, Timbuktu Chronicles recently posted Nigerian TED Fellow Olatunbosun Obayomi of the BMW Guggenheim Lab sharing his thoughts on how to forge new urban systems that cater for interaction and interdependence yet preserving individual comfort:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tunisia: Hanging Images of the People Where those of their Dictators Once Hung, Cont'd

On the heels of those JR-sized collages, comes Algerian French street artist ZOO Project's, life-size cardboard cutouts of hundreds of the brave, ordinary people who risked it all to make revolution happen, particularly the 200+ people that lost their lives:

More pictures over at My Modern Met. and Unurth 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Nigeria: Arise Fashion Week, 2011

4AcesTV posted their diary from the just concluded Arise magazine fashion week, Lagos, 2011, from which five designers get to represent Africa at the next New York Fashion Week.

The Telegraph slideshow of winners - here + Day one to the finale.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sierra Leone: Book Cover Fubar

Sierra Leone-British writer Aminatta Forna's Memory of Love (she talks about the books characters - here) was a  Commonwealth prize regional winner and made it on the Orange prize long list.

Tom Devriendt over at Africa is a Country as the details of this book cover publishing fubar.

H/T: myWeku


Sweet compilation of unforgettable film and television title sequences via Art of the Title sequence blog, compiled for just concluded SXSW fest. Which reminded us Boing Boing recently posted a fabulous Raquel Welch ogling title sequence from Fathom (1967):

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Africa: Trans-Afro

This poster by Mxolisi Mkhonza reminded us of the Chris Beaumont interview below with Kevin Warwick, a professor of Cybernetics at Reading University, who sees singularity--i.e. when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence--as inevitable. He makes a transhumanist argument that rather than end up with a Terminator-like scenario of machine vs human being, we should start reaping the benefits of blending both now:

We thought the way everyone is now stuck to some kind of mobile technology 24/7, indicates the blending started long ago. More of Mxolisi Mkhonza - here.

H/T: 10 and 5


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