Africa Rising

There's a new design culture on the up in Africa and 'Africa Rising', a beautiful new book by Gestalten, has got us hooked...

BY DEE IVA

Charles Darwin speculated in his 1871 book ‘The Descent of Man’ that Africa was the birthplace of humankind. That theory has been endlessly disputed ever since but our fascination with the world’s second largest continent shows no signs of dissipating.

‘Africa Rising’ is a sharp insight into the creative forces at work today in this large and multi-stranded region. Co-edited by Cape Town forum Design Indaba, and covering fashion, art, textiles, product design, architecture and music, it’s a remarkable book that depicts a vibrant and evolving African identity unfettered by lazy stereotypes.

ABOVE: Fashion designer Marianne Fasler's vibrant patterns and colours are surefire front cover material
ABOVE RIGHT: Bold stripes and oversized flares feature in Rich Mnisi's unisex Autumn/Winter 2016 collection
BELOW: Clear, spacious layouts and bold typography are a winning combination

Check out Johannesburg-based Marianne Fasler’s 2015 Resort womenswear collection which uses textured silks, bold colour and geometrics to create elegant contemporary pieces with plenty of attitude. See how American product and furniture designer Stephen Burks, known for his collaborations with major European brands including Missoni, Roche Bobois and B&B Italia, took inspiration from traditional Senegalese baskets and the women who wove them. Or marvel at the beauty of the minimal Library of Muyinga, designed by BC Architects for deaf children in Burundi.

BELOW: The Library of Muyinga by BC Architects is made of earth blocks, eucalyptus wood, sisal and clay

AfricaRising_AboubakarFofana_FrançoisGoudier_p302.jpg

If textiles are your thing, look to West African designer Aboubakar Fofana who has revived the ancient art of creating natural indigo dyes from plant leaves resulting in beautiful dip-dyed and printed fabrics. Lovers of modern art won’t be disappointed either. Harlem-born Kip Omolade’s paintings of chrome sculptured faces, referencing ancient Benin masks, bring a taste of Pop Art to the proceedings, while South African Marco Cianfanelli’s steel structures allow fleeting glimpses of falcons and Nelson Mandela.

BELOW: Into the blue: Dip-dyed textiles by Aboubakar Fofana sway in the breeze; In the navy: Cape Town-based South African fashion designer Lukhanyo Mdingi's minimal and androgynous 'Taintless' collection is a vision in blue

BELOW FROM TOP: Marco Cianfanelli's 'Falcons' sculpture in Abu Dhabi;  Incredible chrome face oil paintings by Kip Omolade

Above all else, ‘Africa Rising’ shows how traditional techniques and cultural practices are being harnessed to push this great continent forward and serves to remind us of the power of design as a force for good. For once you can judge a book by its cover…

'Africa Rising' by Gestalten (Gestalten, €39) gestalten.com

Pictures: Marco Cianfanelli, Travys Owen, Francois Goudier, Kristin-Lee Moolman
All images © Gestalten 2016

Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80

'Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print' is a new tome for the Blank Generation of the late Seventies. Showcasing the anger and creative energy of graphic design from the punk era, it's a visceral reminder of this decade's most influential youth movement

BY DEE IVA

The mid-Seventies in Britain were pretty bleak, with three-day weeks, power cuts, mountains of uncollected rubbish and high unemployment. If you were a teenager the only ways out of the gloom were music and fashion. The music scene before 1976 consisted mainly of prog rockers like Yes, teeny bop bands like the Bay City Rollers or American soft rockers like The Eagles. But in 1976 the punk movement kicked off, laying waste to all that went before it and for many bored and disaffected teens this was Year Zero.

RIGHT: 1977 poster promoting a concert by Siouxsie and the Banshees at Eric's club in Liverpool
BELOW: Poster for X-Ray Spex’s single ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’, October 1977; Flyer for The Clash, Subway Sect and Snatch at the ICA Theatre, London, 23
October 1976; Poster for Blondie’s 12-inch single ‘Denis’, ‘Contact in Red Square’ and
‘Kung Fu Girls’, February 1978; Flyer for the Sex Pistols at The Screen on Islington Green, 17 May 1976

2016 is the 40th anniversary of punk and to mark the occasion exhibitions, events and reunions have taken place across the UK reminding a certain section of society of their rebellious and idealistic youth. Brit artist and designer Toby Mott was one of those youths. Living in Pimlico, London, a stone’s throw from the King’s Road, Chelsea (a battleground for legions of punk rockers and teddy boys), Mott’s formative years were spent following the first wave of punk bands such as The Clash, X-Ray SpexSex PistolsSiouxsie and the Banshees and Adam and the Ants

An avid collector of record covers, fanzines and the assorted printed ephemera that spread the word about who to see and where to see them, Mott’s bedroom became a shrine to the burgeoning punk movement, which is why his personal collection of punk artwork is second to none.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Poster for Buzzcocks’ single ‘Orgasm Addict’ by Linder Sterling and Malcolm Garrett, November 1977; Reverse of flyer for Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Adverts, Motorhead, The Vibrators, Generation X and Buzzcocks at The Greyhound, Croydon, February/March/April 1978; Poster for The Adverts at The Windmill Club, Rotherham, 15 September 1977; Sniffin’ Glue #3½ by Mark Perry, 28 September 1976

Mott's new book ‘Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80’ gathers this extensive collection of punk memorabilia together for the first time. Printed on rough unvarnished paper, punk’s energy and DIY ethos is captured in everything from posters, flyers and record sleeves to tickets and magazine covers. Hand scrawled lettering, Letraset, dodgy photocopies, and photo montage was the visual language of early street punk graphics which pre date today’s cut and paste culture. Iconic designs by legendary designers including Jamie Reid, Malcolm Garrett and Linder Sterling are here too on artwork for the Sex Pistols and the Buzzcocks, but it’s the raw amateur nature of the disposable material that really captures the creative have-a-go attitude of this short-lived yet incredibly influential movement.

BELOW FROM TOP: Nothing is off limits in this poster for 'Cut', the debut album by punk's first girl group The Slits, September 1979; Jamie Reid's seminal artwork to promote the Sex Pistols' second single 'God Save The Queen', May 1977

If you ever wore a pair of bondage pants, know what a bum flap is or had a pair of studded leather wristbands this book is for you. But beware, it may just bring a little tear to your eye…

'Oh So Pretty: Punk in Print 1976-80' by Toby Mott and Rick Poynor (Phaidon Press, £19.95) phaidon.com

Pictures: Courtesy of the Mott Collection

Linocut for Artists and Designers

Budding artists, illustrators and designers can learn to use linocut, care of Nick Morley's handy new book

BY DEE IVA

Hot off the press comes Nick Morley's new book 'Linocut for Artists and Designers', full of sound advice on how to create your very own prints from scratch.

Whether you're a beginner doing small runs on your kitchen table or know your way around a printing press, Morley's book is a useful guide to the various techniques you need to know to produce everything from simple black and white illustrations to complex multi-layered editions. In our increasingly digital age, where images come and go in the blink of an eye, a beautifully printed linocut design has a lasting quality that can only be achieved by the human hand. This book takes you through each stage of the process in eight easy-to-follow chapters.

Examples of Morley's own sought-after work (as Linocut Boy) appear alongside case studies of eight international designers who stretch the medium to its limit using techniques such as screen print, letterpress and etching to create a varied range of textiles, ceramics, books and fine art prints. UK specialist Morley also offers regular linocut workshops, as well as screen printing and etching courses, at Hello Print Studio, his creative space in Margate.

ABOVE RIGHT: 'Tortoise Boy' by Linocut Boy (aka Nick Morley)
BELOW FROM LEFT'Dodo with a Yoyo' by Linocut Boy has colour added to the original black linocut by screenprinting thin layers of ink on top; In reverse, the initial cut design

ABOVE: 'Deep Sea Diver' by Linocut Boy uses several colour blends and is printed from seven blocks: background colour blocks for the figure and seaweed, colour blocks for the belt, weight and boots, and the key block in black, which is printed last

'Linocut for Artists and Designers' is a must-have if you're a design-savvy type with the urge to make your mark. Go on, dive in and get your hands dirty, you won't regret it.

'Linocut for Artists and Designers' by Nick Morley (The Crowood Press, £18.99) crowood.com

Henri Barande – The Work Beyond

The rarely seen paintings and sculptures of the elusive Henri Barande are celebrated in a new book with 3,500 different covers...

BY DEE IVA

Final PDF_Barande-221.jpg

Bands often release albums with different cover artwork and glossy magazines do the same from time to time. The avid collector will usually buy all the different versions as they tend to be special or limited editions. Now the launch of 'The Work Beyond', a new art monograph on the work of French artist Henri Barande, has taken this to the extreme. Each of the 3,500 flexibound books will have a different cover using details and elements from Barande's graphic paintings.

Creative Director Christoph Stolberg and German design firm Schultzschultz were inspired by how Barande's work was displayed in his studio in Lausanne, Switzerland. Hung tightly together, the way the paintings were juxtaposed led them to come up with the concept of a different cover for each book to reflect the artist's aesthetic. An incredible 8,500 random combinations of cover images were generated, before the final selection was hand-picked and a special typeface designed for the book's title.

ABOVE: Which one to choose? Each cover of 'The Work Beyond' is unique
ABOVE RIGHT: Henri Barande as a young man
BELOW: A floating geometric shape on a vivid blue background is displayed against a solarized portrait of a young girl in Middle Eastern attire

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Architectural shapes are juxtaposed with a gruesome mask of death

Born in Morocco in 1945, Henri Barande grew up in Carthage, Tunisia, where the atmosphere, architecture and geography had a major impact on his work. Think flat colour fields and geometric shapes, and hazy barely decipherable faces contrasted with skulls, shoes and religious icons. Look closely and you'll also find nods to the great artists of the 20th century such as Gustav Klimt and Vincent van Gogh. The spatial quality of Barande's paintings is also reflected in the book's clean airy layouts which give the work room to breathe. 

ABOVE: Strappy sandals and abstract shapes contrast with loose renderings of Vincent van Gogh and Gustav Klimt's 1907 painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer

Sometimes abstract, sometimes figurative, Barande's deceptively simple paintings and sculptures will be on show at London's Saatchi Gallery from 4 to 30 October 2016 to accompany the launch of 'The Work Beyond'. It's an exhibition well worth catching as you might not get the chance again given this intensely private artist originally intended to hide or destroy his works, preferring to keep them out of the public eye for 50 years. Luckily, American curator and critic David Galloway persuaded him to share his creativity. The art will be untitled, undated, unsigned and strictly not for sale, but it's a rare opportunity to see these stunning canvases up close. 'The Work Beyond' is a great insight into one of the art world's more reclusive artists and with its unique collection of covers the book is a work of art in itself. Snap one up before they go go...

BELOW FROM LEFT: Simple angled lines and flat colours suggest internal rooms

'Henri Barande: The Work Beyond' by David Galloway (Booth-Clibborn Editions, £25) Available from September 2016 booth-clibborn.com. The accompanying exhibition is at Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London, SW3, from 4 to 30 October 2016 saatchigallery.com

Where's Warhol?

Andy Warhol, pop culture's most recognisable artist, is given one more stab at the fame game in 'Where's Warhol?', a fun-filled new take on the art of hide-and-seek

BY DEE IVA

Having heard of people being driven to the brink of insanity or suffering migraines attempting to locate Wally in Martin Handford’s seminal ‘Where’s Wally?’ books and games, we thought another iteration of this hide-and-seek format would be the last thing we’d want to see. But when ‘Where’s Warhol?’, Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae’s witty take on the genre, appeared at DesignFizz HQ we were rather tickled.

‘Where’s Warhol?’ places American Pop artist Andy Warhol in key locations and events throughout history, including Warhol’s former playground Studio 54, the execution of Marie Antoinette, the fall of Pompeii and the iconic Bauhaus design school in Dessau. Surrounded by celebrities and famous faces from each era, it's a typically Warholian comment on pop culture then and now. 

ABOVE: The heady days of New York nightclub Studio 54Bianca Jagger on a white horse, Jack Nicholson, Liza Minnelli and Grace Jones are just a few of the famous faces in the crowd
ABOVE RIGHT: The cover of new illustrated book 'Where's Warhol?'
BELOW: It's the end of the road for Pompeii as Mount Vesuvius erupts. The destruction of Pompeii provided inspiration for generations of artists including Pink Floyd, Salvador Dali and Antony Gormley (all hidden among the ruins) 

ABOVE: Influential German design school The Bauhaus is captured here. Can you spot Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy or Herbert Bayer?

As well as spotting Warhol in the throng on each of the 12 double-page spreads, it’s thought-provoking and unexpectedly educational to discover figures such as artist Rachel Whiteread, potter Josiah Wedgwood, novelist Gustave Flaubert and architect/designer Walter Gropius appearing alongside the likes of rappers The Beastie Boys, actor John Travolta and singer Madonna. Well known artworks are also dotted around (think Damien Hirst’s petrified shark, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s signature street graffiti and Warhol’s eponymous soup tins).

Catherine Ingram's concise text gives a succinct insight into each scenario which lends gravitas to Andrew Rae’s humorous and entertaining illustrations. We can think of no better way to look and learn at the same time…
'Where's Warhol?' by Catherine Ingram and Andrew Rae (Laurence King, £9.95) laurenceking.com