Making Africa - Vigilism, "Idumota Market, Lagos 2081A.D." from the  "Our Africa 2081A.D." series, illustration for the Ikiré Jones Heritage Menswear Collection, 2013 © Courtesy Olalekan and Walé Oyéjidé.

Making Africa – Vigilism, “Idumota Market, Lagos 2081A.D.” from the “Our Africa 2081A.D.” series, illustration for the Ikiré Jones Heritage Menswear Collection, 2013 © Courtesy Olalekan and Walé Oyéjidé.

Vitra Design Museum presents Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design. The exhibition illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political changes on the continent. Open until the the 13th of september, the exhibition features the work of over 120 creatives ranging from design and architecture to fashion and photography, but also art, film and graphic design.

Cyrus Kabiru, "Caribbean Sun", 2012, image from the "C-Stunners" photography series, © Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

Cyrus Kabiru, “Caribbean Sun”, 2012, image from the “C-Stunners” photography series, © Carl de Souza AFP/Getty Images

Africa is presented as a hub of experimentation generating new approaches and solutions of worldwide relevance.  – and as a driving force for a new discussion of the potential of design in the twenty-first century. Indeed, the exhibition focuses on a digital-native generation of entrepreneurs, thinkers and designers from and within Africa who address a global audience and provide the world with a new vantage point on their continent.

Cheick Diallo, "Fauteil Sansa bleu«", 2011, Ses- sel/chair, © Cheick Diallo.

Cheick Diallo, “Fauteil Sansa bleu«”, 2011, Ses- sel/chair, © Cheick Diallo.

Curators comment: “All of the works presented show that design in Africa is understood on a much more inclusive level than in Western societies – and they are proof that this understanding can produce innovative new approaches to design”.

Making Africa - Chai House, (Architects unknown), Nairobi, ca. 1970 , photo © Iwan Baan, Courtesy Manuel Herz.

Making Africa – Chai House, (Architects unknown), Nairobi, ca. 1970 , photo © Iwan Baan, Courtesy Manuel Herz.

Making Africa features a plethora of work cutting across a wide variety of media, such as the eyewear sculptures by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, the furniture of Cheick Diallo from Mali and the photography of Mozambican Mário Macilau and Nigerian J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere. It shows the architecture of Francis Kéré, David Adjaye and Kunlé Adeyemi, remarkable cardboard city models by Bodys Isek Kingelez and animation art by Robin Rhode, a South African based in Berlin.

Making Africa - Chicoco Radio Station, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, designed by NLÉ Architects, 2014, Rendering, © NLÉ Works Lagos, Amsterdam.

Making Africa – Chicoco Radio Station, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, designed by NLÉ Architects, 2014, Rendering, © NLÉ Works Lagos, Amsterdam.

The cultural and historical foundations of Making Africa come from a retrospective look at early postcolonial Africa: from a continent beyond wars, crises and catastrophes back in the 1960s to the positive attitude of contemporary designers and architects.

Making Africa - Omar Victor Diop, »Aminata« Fotografie aus der Serie/ photograph from the series »The Studio of Vanities«, 2013 © Victor Omar Diop, 2014, Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

Making Africa – Omar Victor Diop, »Aminata« Fotografie aus der Serie/ photograph from the series »The Studio of Vanities«, 2013 © Victor Omar Diop, 2014, Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

An especially distinctive feature of the exhibition is its development process. Over a two-year research period, numerous think tanks and interviews were held in major African cities such as Lagos, Dakar, Cape Town, Cairo and Nairobi. In the process, a unique resource of primary research material on African design was compiled, which further supports and enriches the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue.

Making Africa - Vigilism, "Where there's gold: mining way station", 2014, three dimensional model, © Olalekan Jeyifous, Vigilism, New York.

Making Africa – Vigilism, “Where there’s gold: mining way station”, 2014, three dimensional model, © Olalekan Jeyifous, Vigilism, New York.

The exhibition was curated by Amelie Klein, Curator at the Vitra Design Museum. Consulting Curator was Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der Kunst in Munich and Director of the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Following its premiere at the Vitra Design Museum, the exhibition will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao from autumn 2015.

Making Africa - Omar Victor Diop, »Mame«, Fotografie aus der Serie/ photograph from the series »The Studio of Vanities«, 2013 © Victor Omar Diop, 2014, Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

Making Africa – Omar Victor Diop, »Mame«, Fotografie aus der Serie/ photograph from the series »The Studio of Vanities«, 2013 © Victor Omar Diop, 2014, Courtesy Magnin-A Gallery, Paris.

Photos Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum.

Making Africa - Expand Design, »Splice«, 2012, stool, © Ifeanyi Oganwu, courtesy Expand Design Ltd, Galerie Armel Soyer and Priveekollektie.

Making Africa – Expand Design, »Splice«, 2012, stool,
© Ifeanyi Oganwu, courtesy Expand Design Ltd, Galerie Armel Soyer and Priveekollektie.

Making Africa - Justin Plunkett, Skhayascraper, Rendering, Limited Edition of 20, 2013, © Justin Plunkett. Courtesy The Cabinet, Cape Town.

Making Africa – Justin Plunkett, Skhayascraper, Rendering, Limited Edition of 20, 2013, © Justin Plunkett. Courtesy The Cabinet, Cape Town.