Contemporary Design Africa

Tapiwa Matsinde

Celebrates African design today through the beautiful objects created by its most sophisticated makers  

Contemporary Design Africa offers a refreshing challenge to rigid perceptions of what African design looks like. Focusing primarily on interior decoration, the book presents fifty designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora who are creating sophisticated and innovative products and interiors.

An introductory section surveys the history, vitality, and diversity in African design, followed by profiles of contemporary designers grouped by craft, from textiles, ceramics, and basketry to furniture, lighting, and beyond. Some of these designers reinterpret traditional methods and styles in beautiful and highly individual ways, such as the award-winning South African organization Zenzulu, which replicates techniques of Zulu master bead makers. Sustainability and recycling are another important focus for many: Cheick Diallo, the founder of the African Designers Association, creates stunning furniture made from discarded materials. Others, like Nigerian textile designer Banke Kuku, fuse African and Western styles in colorful, visually dynamic ways.

Complete with references for sourcing African products, as well as a glossary and bibliography, Contemporary Design Africa reveals the rich possibilities being explored by a new generation of African creators.


The chief impression made by this colorful compilation is that of variety. This is hardly surprising from a continent of 54 countries with multiple languages and climates…This is much more than 'safari chic.'

— Interior Design

Challenges perceptions of African creativity by focusing on design and innovation on the continent…Conventionally, African craftspeople have remained anonymous to international audience members; Matsinde's book joins others who have been working to ameliorate this situation.

— Africa is a Country

Gives an unprecedented insight into Africa's world of arts. This book is a must read for everyone interested in modern, international design.

— The Washington Book Review

for the first time uncovers African design in its most innovative aspect…a pleasurable journey through ceramics, textiles, basketworks, lighting and furniture

— Intense Art Magazine


Tapiwa Matsinde


Tapiwa Matsinde is a British-born designer, creative business consultant, and writer of Zimbabwean heritage.