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

Stephen Burks -  Contemporary African Fusion

Stephen Burks - Contemporary African Fusion

This week we want to celebrate a designer who immensely inspires us in his approach of fusing African traditional crafts with luxury contemporary design.

If you receive our monthly NEWSLETTER you may have read a very brief article about Stephen Burks in our November issue. We received such great feedback that we decided to feature his work in more depth.

For over a decade now, the US-born, New York resident Stephen Burks has dedicated his creative work to building a bridge between authentic craft traditions, industrial manufacturing and contemporary design.

As the first African-American to rise to the top of the international contemporary design world, Burks is renowned for fusing local craftsmanship techniques, such as traditional African basket weaving with well-known luxury brands, such as B&B Italia, Boffi, Cappellini, Dedar, Dedon, Harry Winston, Missoni, Moroso, Parachilna, Roche Bobois and Swarovski.

 At the same time he reaches out and consults with nonprofit organisations including Aid to Artisans, the Clinton Global Initiative, Design Network Africa, Artesanias de Colombia and the Nature Conservancy, uniting the artisan, the designer, and global brands in a triangle of immersive development.

‘Looking at Africa through the eyes of contemporary art, photography, architecture and design is perhaps the most appropriate way of approaching this vast, powerful continent, so creatively rich and diverse that today it is still one of Western modernity’s greatest sources of inspiration.’ says Burks.

As a student of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Product Design at IIT’S Institute of Design, as well as a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture,  Burks and his team in his New York studio, Readymade Projects, have been responsible for creative direction and industrial design on projects ranging from retail interiors and events to packaging, consumer products, lighting, furniture and home accessories.

Stephen Burks is the 2015 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award winner in Product Design.

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