H++, Chair and table set, 2011
Water hyacinth, metal, yarn, wood;
chair: H 80 x W 40 cm; table: H 58 x W 50 cm
Photo: Frank Kleinbach, © ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
Water hyacinth is harming underwater biodiversity. The weed is harvested and turned into a pliable material, which the designer then uses to create commercially viable products.
Alafuro Sikoki-Coleman is an award-winning industrial designer and conceptual artist. She lives between Warwickshire, United Kingdom, and Bayelsa, Nigeria, where she comes from. She is the founder of Studio Sikoki, a design+art+research facility she established in 2006. On returning to Nigeria in 2007 and after completing her master’s in industrial design from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, USA, she began to investigate trans-culturalism in Ijaw culture and the preservation of skills in marginalized societies. This led to research and skill conservation in her project H++ where she works with a collective of women to weed the local rivers of the invasive species water hyacinth. Using the water hyacinth plant as a raw material, near-extinct trad itional weaving skills are now being passed down to the younger generation. H++ is a new sustainable industry that looks after the environment by turning a negative weed into furniture, household products and works of art.