Rabat - Africa Sounds, a design project conceived to “honor Africa’s artistic wealth,” is being celebrated at the Medinit Expo in Casablanca.
Rabat – Africa Sounds, a design project conceived to “honor Africa’s artistic wealth,” is being celebrated at the Medinit Expo in Casablanca.
According to organizers, Medinit Expo is an annual exhibition that convenes 80-100 brands representing the “excellence of Made in Italy in the Design sector (interior / exterior decoration, decoration, lighting, etc.) which are presented to a selection of qualified operators (architects, engineers, importers, builders), of Morocco and beyond.”
This year’s edition started on October 24 and is expected to end on October 26.
The Africa Sounds design project depicts castanets and the Gnaoua culture in a map of Africa engraved on marble. The project was born of a collaborative work between Moroccan designer Hicham Lahlou and Citco, an Italian leader in designing worldwide. Its concept is to render a “poetic depiction” of Africa’s cultural—especially linguistic and musical—diversity, according to Lahlou.
Citco, a global household name in the design industry, has previously worked with, and edited, leading designers and architects like Britain’s Norman Foster, France’s Ito Morabito and Jean Nouvel, and Israel’s Arik Levy.
For this year’s celebration of Italian design in Casablanca, the Italian giant chose Morocco’s Hicham Lahlou to give an African feel to the event’s illustrious pedigree. The choice is a further validation of Hicham Lahlou’s standing among Africa’s and the world’s best designers.
Speaking to Morocco World News about the importance of such a celebration of African design, Lahlou expressed gratitude and excitement for being the representative of Medinit Expo 2018. “Together with Citco I am ambassador and guest international designer for this year’s Medinet Expo,” the Moroccan artist said.
Lahlou’s “Africa sounds” assembles marble, Gnawa music, and a bright Africa map, which is meant to suggest African unity through cultural linkages and musical sounds, despite visible diversity in the way culture is lived and practiced across the continent.
The project’s colorful texture is a Hicham Lahlou trademark. Since turning his designer’s gaze towards Africa at his creative peak in recent years, the Moroccan artist has consistently said that he considers Africa as the meeting ground of colors and expressions.
Africa, Lahlou has repeatedly maintained in his projects depicting other aspects of “African identity,” as he calls them, is conducive to artistic creativity because its thousands of languages and other cultural expressions allow for coherence and harmony out of striking dissimilarities.
“Africa is the future of designing,” the Moroccan designer said in March 2014, speaking at Africa Design Days, an international designing-focused event the Moroccan founded to “help fellow African designers market their skills and creativity to a broader global audience.”
Of the Africa Sounds project, both Lahlou and Citco have said that the founding idea was to pay a vibrant tribute to the continent’s artistic potential, especially its music, architecture, and craftwork. The concept is to celebrate Africa through colorful design by throwing a light on the continent’s cultural wealth.