Contemporary African Design: Colour & Pattern Insights | Eva Sonaike Blog

Eva Sonaike in Sunday Times South Africa

Eva Sonaike in Sunday Times South Africa

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may know I have been featured in last Sunday's issue of Sunday Times South Africa in 'Meet the maker', where I am taking about African cities and my dream Marni collaboration.  You can imagine how honoured I felt. Have a look at an extract of the interview here.

You are of Nigerian origin but born and raised in Germany. Do you think your heritage and upbringing has affected your style and how?

Definitely! Germany is very static and straightforward. Schooling there teaches you how to get things done efficiently. Nigeria, in contrast, is chaotic and vibrant and it is a place where everything is possible.

I think these two elements are visible in my work - a melange of African vibrancy and German structure.

Do you design everything yourself, and if so, what is your design process?

I design everything myself but work with a graphic designer on the colours and repeat patterns.

I sketch a lot and use those sketches to develop the designs. So that main part is developing the sketches into what I envisage. As mentioned before, I start with the colour palette and then use the sketches to create a theme.

African design is currently in a very exciting space. Which African cities do you think are current design destinations?

Maybe I am biased, but of course, Lagos is a major cultural hub and the city is changing and evolving every year. But there are may other cities and places across the continent that are happening in terms of design. Luanda in Angola is very interesting, especially for interior design and architecture.

I have never been but heard that Kigali in Rwanda is one of the most vibrant and inspiring places at the moment. And of course Dakar, which is the Paris of Africa and if you are interested in colours and design, the place to be.

You are based in London - what is the UK perception of African design?

The UK consumer and wholesale market are unfortunate still very slow when it comes to the appreciation African design. The trend here is more back to British with quirky, placative designs. That's for the consumer market.

But interior designers and architects, here in the UK is very open to African design, especially in the high-end sector of the market and we have been working on some great projects recently.

Your mission is 'Bringing Colour to Life.' Can you offer some advice for people wanting to bring bold colour into their homes?

I feel that colour can change your life, so it is important to add a little (or a lot) to your home. Depending on how you feel about colour, start with some scatter cushions or a nice throw and then develop from there. 

And a tip for mixing patterns in the home?

Be bold, be brave and make it beautiful! There are no rules! You will be surprised how great the impact of mixing patterns and texture can be. Take your time, see what you love and play around. If it doesn’t work the first time, you can try other combinations.

A collaboration you'd love to be part of?

I would love to collaborate with a fashion house, as many people ask me for fashion fabrics. I could see my prints in a Marni collection.

A new product you'd love to design?

I am very happy with our current product selection, but sooner or later we will launch a wallpaper collection. Very excited about that.

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