As collaborations gain popularity in today’s creative circles, local partnerships show the impact that such pairings can have on global design. In our #HLDesignIssue we profiled three of our favourite dream teams – including AAKS and Pichulik, who together brought the Paka Hanging Light to life.
As a member of Design Network Africa, Ghanaian handbag designer Akosua Afriyie-Kumi of AAKS was offered mentorship time with South African jeweller Katherine-Mary Pichulik. Although the five days spent together in Accra and Kumasi were geared to assist Afriyie-Kumi with systematic processes, pricing and marketing strategies for her new business, a meaningful friendship was struck between the two entrepreneurs, and a collaborative concept was hatched.
‘We both have an interest in interiors, and wanted to play with our individual methods and language to see what dialogue we could create,’ says Pichulik. Combining their affinity for natural materials, the two developed a range of four hanging lights that would combine AAKS’ raffia expertise with Pichulik’s distinctive rope work. ‘I love how Akosua has reinterpreted traditional Northern Ghanaian weaving methods and natural dyes in a modern way,’ Pichulik says. ‘She incorporates humour and an interesting play of proportions.’
Working with her weavers, Afriyie-Kumi developed the main structure of the lights and freighted them to South Africa, where Pichulik and her team decorated the bold surfaces with coils of blue and gold rope. ‘I’ve always liked Pichulik’s use of colour, and her work complements mine so well,’ says Afriyie-Kumi. ‘Through her, I’ve learnt the importance of getting to know my audience and adapting a style for different environments. She encourages me to have fun with my work.’
The Paka Hanging Light premiered with Design Network Africa at Maison & Objet 2016 in Paris alongside three others from this collaboration, and it was an instant hit, selling immediately on opening day. There are plans to further develop the Kumasi light collection into modular totemic light assembly pieces that also play with proportion and colour.
Check out the Lineage cabinet by Wiid Design and Lionel Smit, and watch this space for another design collab next week.