Appointment in Dakar
Edited by Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 9/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
Taking in an art fair in Dakar, Senegal, designer Tord Boontje and Moroso art director Patrizia Moroso were mesmerized by furniture made with tightly woven nylon fishing net. Later, at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Boontje borrowed Senegalese techniques for his Shadowy outdoor furniture for Moroso. That line gave just a hint of what would follow at this year's Moroso booth: M'Afrique is a multilayered, cross-cultural contemplation, a showcase, Moroso says, for the "creativity of great artists and exponents of contemporary Africa."
Patricia Urquiola, Philippe Bestenheider, and Stephen Burks all made furniture contributions. At the heart of the installation, however, were designs inspired by the indigenous seating that first stoked Boontje and Moroso's passion. Much evolved from a serendipitous meeting with Birsel + Seck partners Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, recently back in New York after two years in Dakar. Birsel's sketchbook became the basis for seven pieces, and Seck returned to Dakar to oversee craftspeople as they twisted and welded tubes of galvanized steel together, then wove them with nylon thread. The hammocklike Madame Dakar bench takes a wide stance on four legs, while the Gaal daybed is a study in structural deconstruction. The frames of Nopolou and Bayekou integrate rockers, but Bourguiba's rocker base capsule is painted with graphics adapted from indigenous decoration or present-day transit signage—an apt metaphor for a series born of journeying. 39-0432-577111; moroso.it. circle 421