Bright colours and prints are like the drums Hollywood uses to usher in an ‘African based’ scene. In the Western world’s mind, African art and design is categorized by these two principles. While there is quite a bit of both on the continent, there are several African designers proving that African creativity doesn’t have to colour by numbers or fall into a specific box. One such designer is the young Nigerian entrepreneur, Mimi Shodeinde.
With an Interior Architecture degree from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Mimi launched her London-based Interior Architecture and Furniture Studio – Miminat – in 2015. She resolved to create authentic pieces that were not only minimalistic and contemporary, but also reflected cultural influences from her Nigerian heritage as well. All the while pursuing the Miminat philosophy: ‘to constantly innovate and explore, and push the boundaries of the furniture and design world.’
Inspired by art from a very young age, she views furniture as a piece of sculpture and form of artistic expression. Therefore, her pieces aren’t just functional and sophisticated. They must possess a depth of character that compliments the entreaties of each client; their lifestyle and the space they’ll occupy. The result is an inimitable and sincere furniture piece that keeps her brand relevant in an ever-changing industry.
Another aspect that keeps her projects relevant is her combination of technology and tradition (Check out our Tech and Fashion Series here) You’ll find that wood is her primary medium – particularly Teak, Ebony and Oak -and that her products are hand-finished and hand-made. However, she also uses contemporary materials such as chrome, crystal glass, acrylic and brass. In addition, you’ll also find the latest technology being utilised in her craft. From the latest in wood routing to computerised numerical control (CNC) used for precision.
From this strategy, numerous intriguing creations have been fashioned. The Karamat Chair, which is a multifunctional 2 in 1 shelving unit and recliner chair, was designed in 2016. The minimalistic box chair’s sleek, continuous lines come in either marine laminated ply wood or British oak wood finishes. Her RID box chair, available in black and white acrylic, is a futuristic piece that gives the client the choice of textile to be used for the seats cushion. A crowd favourite is The Iman Lounger. This statement piece brings together a range of materials, from oak wood and acrylic glass, to chrome and leather for an alluring finish.
You can find the same attention to detail with all her other furniture creations such as The Razak Chair, the Karamat Bar Stool, The DIP Lounger and the luxury coffee table known as The Miyat. Although she specialises in commercial and residential projects at the moment, she expressed her desire go even further and tap into other sectors of the industry such as art spaces and the hospitality sector. Furthermore, she wants to make her designs easily accessible despite an individuals’ personal or financial status.
When she isn’t working on the Miminat, she is working on her non-profit charity foundation called SHE.creates. started with her best friend with the aim is to educate five girls from developing regions annually, using art events. Then there is the fact that she also paints. She recently combined her two passions – furniture and art – at the Gallery of African Art in the UK. It showcased the Iman Lounger and her visage-free art series entitles ‘Iwa’ which means character in Yoruba.
23-year-old Nigerian-British artist Mimi Shodeinde (@miminat_designs) is exhibiting her latest collection ‘Iwa’ at the @galleryofafricanart in Mayfair, London. “I called the collection Iwa because it means #character in my native language of #Yoruba,” she told CNN. “A good artist combines their beauty and their character.” Her collection features nude self-portraits; “I think there’s nothing as #beautiful as the naked female form, as #women we need to appreciate that more,” she says. Photo: Gallery of African Art (@galleryofafricanart) #CNNAfrica
Dark, mysterious and sensual is how Mimi Shodeinde (@miminat_designs) would describe her #work, and she’s had the full support of her parents as she expresses her #creativity. She wants to make sure #African girls have that same support through her #charity SHE creates which hopes to cultivate #creative talent in #women by funding the artistic education of five African girls a year in their home country; “My parents were always pushing me to take risks, if it works it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t, and I wanted to give other girls that support too.” Mimi Shodeinde is exhibiting alongside Imanni Da Silva at the @galleryofafricanart until February 11 2017. Photo: Gallery of African Art (@galleryofafricanart) #CNNAfrica
Inspired by juxtaposition of art and artefact, unpredictability and simplicity, comes the unique and ever developing creations of Miminat. With her distinctive style, it’s clear why she is already making a name for herself in London and internationally. We can’t wait to see where her design journey takes her next. If the OMI Collection teasers are anything to go by, it’s going to be spectacular.