10 architects and designers that are championing afrofuturism

Afrofuturism has become the buzzword for the fast-growing creative scene across Africa. Here are 10 figures that are championing the movement, through designs that combine African heritage with visions for the future.

Osborne Macharia

This creative photographer from Nairobi, Kenya, describes all his work as being within the afrofuturist genre.

A recent commission from Marvel saw him produce a series of images for the Black Panther cinema release, bringing together Maasai traditions and science fiction.

Diébédo Francis Kéré

Many people will be familiar with Kéré, as the designer of last year’s Serpentine Pavilion. But this architect, who grew up in a small town in Burkina Faso, has also completed a range of other acclaimed projects, including numerous schools in his home country.

His aim is to show that traditional building methods and materials can be combined with high-tech engineering.

Selly Raby Kane

This Senegalese fashion designer is known for her surrealist streetwear, which merges traditional African prints with contemporary cuts.

Many of her sci-fi-influenced collections reference her home town of Dakar, and she counts Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé among her fanbase.

Yinka Ilori

Ilori is a London-based designer who specialises in upcycling unwanted old furniture – a reaction against today’s consumer culture. He references the patterned fabrics of his Nigerian heritage in his bold, colourful designs.

He also frequently hosts maker workshops, to encourage people from different backgrounds to engage in design.

Kunlé Adeyemi

An OMA protégé, Nigerian architect Adeyemi founded his own studio NLÉ in 2010. Shortly after, he made a big impression with his design for a floating school, designed to facilitate education in African regions that, due to flooding, have little permanent infrastructure.

He is also now working on plans to build a school in Tanzania that combines regional traditions with contemporary learning.

Peter Mabeo

This designer and carpenter from Botswana launched his own furniture brand in 2006, and has since worked with designers including Luca Nichetto, Patricia Urquiola and Claesson Koivisto Rune. The brand, named Mabeo, aims to show how African design can appeal to a global market.

Cyrus Kabiru

This artist from Nairobi, Kenya, specialises in creating new objects from waste. One of his best-known projects involved transforming junk he found on the streets of his hometown into a series of sculptural spectacles.

Lisa Folawiyo

Nigerian designer Folawiyo built her global reputation on her modern transformations of Ankara, a traditional West African dress cloth.

Combining contemporary prints and complex embellishments, her garments have been worn by the likes of Solange Knowles and Lupita Nyong’o.

Atang Tshikare

This South African artist and designer runs a studio called Zabalazaa Designs, which specialises in surface design and illustration. But he has recently branched out into furniture, with designs including a chair that combines scorched timber and woven grass and tables inspired by African mythology.

Christian Benimana

Benimana runs the Rwanda office of Mass Design Group, a research-focused architecture studio that frequently teams up with local governments and NGOs on socially driven projects.

He is also the director of the African Design Center, an organisation that is championing the next generation of designers from the continent.

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