February 20, 2015

Germany’s Vitra Design Museum Showcases African Design and Architecture


It’s no surprise that some of the more extraordinary architecture exhibits are curated by actual practioners. The namesake principal of Manuel Herz Architects conceptualized “Architecture of Independence—African Modernism” at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, through May 31. A 2007 work trip to Nairobi, Kenya, was what sparked Herz’s fascination with the topic.

“I was struck by the huge wealth of cultural production, at the highest level, during the 1960’s,” he says. “It’s important to shed light on this era of national pride, especially since the continent is often associated with misery and poverty.”

Documenting more than 80 buildings in five countries, through hundreds of images, many captured by acclaimed architectural photographer Iwan Baan, the exhibition opened in conjunction with the release of Herz’s African Modernism, a 700-page hardcover published by Park Books. On March 14 through September 13, Vitra moves forward with another exhibit focusing on the region: “Making Africa—A Continent of Contemporary Design,” featuring approximately 280 furniture, clothing, and art items by the likes of David Adjaye, Cheik Diallo, and Lisa Folawiyo.

>>See more from the February 2015 issue of Interior Design

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