I Am Creative With AAND
I am fascinated by creative Nigerians who have taken the bold step to shred the mirage of challenges and embark on a daring path to inspire people to think differently. This fascination was awakened when I was invited to see a team of young architects with an inspiring movement. A wave of excitement rushed through me. What do I expect? What’s this new wave of thought that will change the architectural design sphere? The questions in my mind were endless.
Truth is beyond the idea and innovative concepts and I was fascinated by the brains behind the project called AAND (African Alliance for New Designs) Tosin Oshinowo, Papa Omotayo and Seun Oduwole and I wanted to tell their truth.
“My name is Tosin Oshinowo and I am an architect. I run a practice called CM design Artelier (cmD+A), a minimalistic design company that takes advantage of available local resources to create world class designs. I had my 1st Degree in Architecture from Kingston University in the U.K with a Masters in Urban Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture University College, London. My biggest motivation has been my quest to understand where I come from as an African, a Nigerian and most importantly an indigenous Lagosian, this has formed my identity and reflects in my work and designs. I recently started making furniture with elements of our local fabrics, such as Aso-oke to give it an identity.”
“My name is Papa Omotayo and Creative Director at MOE+Architecture. I am an artist and an architect, hence the understanding that our designs are both sculpturally creative as well as functional. We ensure the connection between art and man by ensuring its contextual and relevant with this space and this time. I studied at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, UK which is renowned for sustainable architecture. I also studied film making, which gave me the insight into how man relates with his space in terms of layers and perspective. We setup a successful practice in London and moved back to Nigeria on a project and have stayed back since.”
“My name is Seun Oduwole and I am the Principal Architect at SI.SA (Studio Imagine Simple Architecture), a collection of young creative architects who produce simple, beautiful, sculptural and functional architecture. We are pledged modernist in designs and are very detailed in design, we look to evoke an emotion in every design we create. I studied Architecture at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and then moved to University of Nottingham. I worked in the UK for nearly 10 years before moving back to Nigeria to work on a project that was a competition, precisely the Bank of Industries headquarters in Nigeria.”
I nudged them to talk about the AAND exhibition and movement.
“AAND is about Afro-modernism architecture. It is a move to change the way we design buildings and create functional building designs that incorporate our society, our environment and our culture into individual designs.
Our goal is to make architects and creatives create conscious designs that defines who we are and our era. To move away from the notion of lazy basic blocks of design and constantly evolve with time and age. We are bringing into consciousness the need to create design that define our era, such that generation to come can look at our designs and easily identify the era the designs were created.
On the vision for AAND, Nigerians, most especially the youths in the last few years have turned their psychological oppression into creativity hence the birth of huge number of creatives in the last few years. We hope to show people where we are right now as creatives and channel them to where we envision in few years. We will bring in mentors to look through and constructively critic works done by participants and come up with corrections and advice where needed. So we not talking just architects, but we talking creatives in all disciplines.
Every creative field that has excelled overtime has been made possible by few people coming together with the resolution to make it happen, in music, in movies and other disciplines, that’s what we are doing with architecture and designs. We are defining who we are and helping to enlighten our generation and hopefully generations to come on the role of Architecture in our society, understanding that Architecture is a social science, hence our actions directly affect our society. We are protectors of our environment in designs so it’s not just about beautifully sculptured designs, but how the designs affect our environment and the people within it socially and psychologically, how our designs protects the environment itself.
As creatives we must pay our dues in knowledge acquisition and be willing to go through the process. Get mentors and be effectively mentored. We must change how we are seen as substandard to be seen as the best and meet up with global standards. Our individual stories as to what we now know with combined professional experience of over 40 years as creatives have led us to start a movement that we believe will outlive us and reposition us as a country and people.”