Outfitting a room isn’t just about adding a chair or table; it’s about creating a mood and vibe that sets the tone for the space. Black furniture designers from across the globe are crafting, carving and kilning pieces more than ever before. Using Black cultural touchstones and African traditions to guide their designs, the pieces from these nine Black furniture designers can help you transform your room of just four walls and a floor into an interior design masterpiece.
Virginia–based Ethiopian designer Jomo Tariku creates African-based seats and benches with his brand, Jomo Furniture. Inspired by his homeland, his pieces are infused with diverse cultures. Whether based on artifacts, landscapes, wildlife or hairstyles, Tariku creates unique designs that become the focal point in any room.
Tosin Oshinowo founded Ilé Ilà, which means “house of lines,” in 2017. Tapping into her native Yoruba culture, the brand’s furniture is handmade in Lagos, Nigeria. Her style stems from a postwar modern aesthetic, but her pieces still have a beachy vintage vibe that could be used in the backyard space of a house in Martha’s Vineyard.
Elodie Dérond and Tania Doumbe Fines
Elodie Dérond and Tania Doumbe Fines are co-founders of studio Ibiyane, specializing in sculptural and spatial design. Their work inspiration includes highly laminated pieces, like a bench with curved legs or a stool with a leaf-like seat. Looking at their work from afar, their creations begin to resemble the human form.
When outfitting your space, don’t forget about the floors. Marlene Barnett creates bespoke carpets and ceramic tiles with form and function in mind. The Brooklyn-based artist and textile designer also founded the Black Artists + Designers Guild in 2018, which aims to advance the community of Black makers to build inclusive and equitable spaces.
Dina Nur Satti
Originally from Sudan and Somalia, Dina Nur Satti uses her studies in African art and pre-colonial African societies to create her spatial designs. Her looks are inspired by her travels throughout Africa, with her ceramics becoming an extension of her own personal growth and ideas. Her neutral design palette adds gravity and depth to a room.
Mabeo Furniture is a collective of works curated by Peter Mabeo, a Botswana-based furniture designer. Humanely produced pieces and interior design projects that celebrate African craft heritage and support local craft economies complete his brand. Mabeo’s work has been featured in many lodgings like Hotel Nobis in Stockholm, Sweden; Milan’s Hotel Giulia; Hong Kong’s Mercedes Benz Dining Room and New York City’s Andaz 5th Avenue Hotel.
British-born Ghanaian designer Kusheda Mensah creates pieces that explore and examine how one can produce a fun and functional living terrain. Her work, interlocking modular components that are solid and sculptural, represent the mutuality, connection and closeness shared between humans while grounding a room with form and color.
One of the first Black furniture designers to achieve major commercial success, Stephen Burks has been crafting pieces for more than 20 years. His small workshop-based studio has collaborated with brands and artisans throughout the globe, and he advocates for hand production with every step. His partnerships have been with major brands like Roche Bobois, Missoni and Tod’s, and his pieces are often on display in museums and galleries.
Nigerian furniture designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello is the founder of NMBello Studio. He designed medical devices and smartphones before joining an architectural firm. Marcus-Bello now creates objects and products that are a juxtaposition of materials and form. His M2 shelf is a base and backdrop of African Mahogany, wood found in West Africa and Southern Nigeria.