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Africa - Design

Maison et Object design fair in Paris has an Africa touch

African jewellery at the Maison et Objet fair 2019 in Paris
African jewellery at the Maison et Objet fair 2019 in Paris RFI

Two African exhibitors stand out in this year's Maison et Objet fair in Paris, where buyers come from around the world to select interior design and gift items for their shops.

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Hailing from Mopti, central Mali, Omar Cissé comes to Paris twice a year to exhibit and sell jewelry, including museum pieces, primarily made by women in and around the central Mali region.

His company, Farafina Tigné, or 'African Reality' in Bambara, features jewelry from the Dogon community, amber beads from the Fulani community, Tuareg pieces, as well as a large number of bracelets and necklaces made by women exclusively from recycled flip flops.

Central Mali still suffers from instability, which has affected Cissé's ability to bring the jewelry to market, but he hopes to reopen his jewelry museum and store in downtown Mopti.

African design at Maison et Objet fair 2019, Paris.

Interior design objects from Senegal

Exhibiting designs made in their own studio as well as showcasing young designers, ThoTmea, is a furniture and design company with roots in Senegal. Design Director Aziz Ndiaye says that the giant straw and recycled plastic baskets with lids has been a popular item for about 30 years. 

"We create the designs and choose the colors," Ndiaye tells RFI. "The manufacture and success of these baskets, however, comes from the women in the heart of Senegal, who weave them."

The ThoTmea stand at Maison et Objet also features Zebra Design, a small outfit based in Dakar, Senegal with Belgian roots. "Sabine, the designer, is inspired by colorful fabrics, and she creates whimsical fabric animal heads." The heads of hippos, giraffes, and flamingos, their bestseller, can be displayed on the wall.

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