Dogon stool, 2016
Recycled lubricant barrels, H 85 x W 40 X Ø 43 cm
Galería Out of Africa, Spain
Photo: Frank Kleinbach, © ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
The materials gleaned from the detritus of daily life include plastic and metal, most notably discarded oil barrels. With the bright colours of the worn scuffed surfaces the designer gives them their distinctive signature style.
Hamed Ouattara is one of the shining stars of a new generation of designers in Africa who are not steeped in European aesthetic traditions, but who have found their inspiration and their own way of doing things by looking at the immediate world around them. He makes his furniture out of the cast-off materials that come to hand – mostly old oil barrels that he shapes and hammers himself. In Burkina Faso, he has to do without many of the things Western designers take for granted – constant energy supplies, ready-made instruments and equipment. He designs not with an eye on the tastes of smart gallerists in the West (though they seem to love his work), but with the desire to meet the needs of his fellow Africans, making their lives not just easier in the practical sense but also culturally richer and, critically, "plus belles". He sees his pieces as a "modern African design luxury". He participated in the 1990s in his first group exhib itions and an individual show in Ouagadougou. He then exhibited in Grenoble in 1998, Brussels in 1999, and in Italy. Many exhibitions followed across Europe and the United States. 2014 marked a milestone in his career when he won the African Design Award as best designer of his generation, in Libreville, Gabon. His ambition is to bring his work to luxury design in prominent gathering places and in the hospitality industry across the world, shedding light on his unique technique made of recycling and ancestral handmade methods. His collections take you to a journey to the heart of Africa.