This is an excerpt featured on the Studio Museum in Harlem blog, it’s my first in a series of design articles.
London is one of the hottest and most creative cities, bristling with a multicultural community. Yet its Black artists and designers have remained largely untapped. That is until now. Just this past September, London was booming with design festivals showcasing innovative furniture, objects and fabulous fashions. Among them was the latest installment of the African and African Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival, a hotbed of new ideas, inspiration and creativity. This year’s theme, “?Choices!,” attracted some 22,000 visitors (2,000 more than in 2010). The AACDD festival took place from September 9 to 25, coinciding with the London Design Festival and constituted AACDD’s second successful year. It was the latest project launched by the British European Design Group’s (BEDG) three-year initiative, which is playing an increasingly important role in diversifying London’s creative community.
The festival director, Karin Phillips, Design Director Clemens Hackl, and Nigerian-born designer and curator, Emamoke Ukeleghe, orchestrated this production. The artists represented included roughly 100 graphic designers, multimedia artists, illustrators, industrial and product designers, and visual artists of African and African-Caribbean descent working in the U.K., Africa, the Caribbean, Japan and the United States. Hackl explained, “These artists and designers made a huge impact on visitors with their innovative works.” And thanks to funding from the London Arts Council, this year the AACDD Festival reached more people through a well-designed festival guide, website and social media platforms.
AACDD’s festival took place in three main locations: BargeHouse in OXO Towers in SouthBack, Hospital Club, and the Re-Loved Lounge at 100% Design. With 1,333 square feet of raw warehouse space, the BargeHouse served as the perfect blank canvas setting for browsing art lovers. It featured four floors of curated work by fine artists, illustrators, graphic designers, fashion designers, multimedia artists, and photographers. On one floor, Below the Surface, a photographic project by young black teenagers from London’s African and African-Caribbean communities, was a whopping success. The teenagers documented the colorful facets of everyday life, and produced an eye grabbing collection shot with disposable cameras given away through AACDD’s tweets and Facebook postings. For more click here>>