For Laduma Ngxokolo, an artist based in South Africa, where the seemingly ubiquitous IKEA does not have a store, the thought of collaborating with the Swedish brand seemed at first a wholly foreign project, one that involved a cultural gap he wasn’t entirely sure he could bridge. “Coming from Port Elizabeth, at the very southern tip of Africa to IKEA I looked around and wondered how I’d contribute my African DNA to this aesthetic,” he recalls. “But after meeting with the designers and talking about my ideas I was more confident.” His resulting rugs and pillows are part of Överallt, one of the several upcoming collections announced today at IKEA’s Democratic Design Days. For the line, which has been two years in the making and will hit stores in 2019, IKEA worked with Design Indaba to connect with 10 designers from across the continent of Africa, who then worked alongside IKEA’s in-house designers to create a collection that bridges various cultural sensibilities.
“I felt excited because we don’t have this type of design aesthetic in South Africa,” Ngxokolo says of the signature Scandinavian warm modernism. “I did some research on IKEA’s design philosophy and understood what they’re about. After that, the process was easy to me because their style is quite minimalist so with my bold style it was like an application exercise.” Ngxokolo’s bold prints appear on rugs and pillows in the line.
A basket by Senegalese artist Selly Raby Kane takes its woven form from hair braiding.