Image Credit - Modular By Mensah
The protests ongoing in cities around the world in the wake of the murder of George Floyd have brought the oppressions faced by the black community sharply, and rightfully, into focus. Against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting BAME individuals in the UK and US, now is the time for contemplating how we can better support the fight against racism in the months and years to come.
Our mission at Lilla Rugs has always been to promote great style from a diverse array of viewpoints and to celebrate the beauty of design and craftsmanship wherever we find it. Within #BlackBritish there are all sorts of fiercely talented professionals adding glamourous designs and tastes to your home, visual appearance, catered events and more. Yet for years, Black artists and designers have struggled to get eyes on their work, been passed over for opportunities, and made to feel like there isn't a spot for them at the table.
So, what does skin colour have to do with making great art? Absolutely nothing. Racism is a systemic global issue; In fact, racism is built right into every level of our society. It is a corrosive and widespread problem, and we all need to do a better job of confronting it - in our towns, in our neighbourhoods, and in ourselves. We can do better, and we will do better.
To promote a greater understanding, we make a long-term commitment to uplift and support our black design community. Support can take many forms; financial investment, spreading the word, encouraging others to visit the businesses and sharing the movement on social media. In this guide, we have a selection of black-owned businesses to support online, all located here in the UK. Featuring designers, decorators and visual artisans that can add succinct designs to your living room, garden, bedrooms and beyond. We wanted to share these creators here as a blueprint for how the design community can work together going forward. We are listening and we are learning.
Discover Afro-british Designs With Bespoke Binny. Natalie Yaa Obenewa Thompson is born and raised in North London and the founder of Bespoke Binny. Offering high quality feel good homeware and lifestyle products rooted in the beauty of African expression. A perfect fusion of tantalising texture and warming tones for the summer months. Bespoke Binny is the best there is at affordable prices - this brand is remarkable. You can shop African print pillows, cushions, aprons and more.
Drawing on founder and designer Joe Lauder’s experience and expertise as a landscaper and woodworker, Merkabah’s offering is built upon ideas of utility, simplicity & comfort. Joe brings together a carefully curated collection of homewares made by artisan enterprises from around the globe. In addition to offering beautiful, unique goods from makers all over the world, they are proud to provide a thoughtful selection of products produced by themselves as well. Merkabah’s lifestyle goods are created with both the body and soul in mind, striving to source and design products that bring joy across the entire production process, from maker to new owner.
Meet Dionne, a UK Mosaic Artist and the founder of Qemamu Mosaics. Dionne was working in the city within a firm of solicitors but she needed something more creative to do. This was when she decided to take up an art course which sparked her love for Mosaics.
Dionne has a distinctively vibrant style which is inspired by her African/Caribbean heritage. Passionate about creating fabulous mosaic art for your home or working environment she is one of the best #BlackBritish Mosaic Designers in the UK; and can certainly add a bespoke touch of African-inspired mosaics to your decor. With over 10 years experience working with numerous schools, private clients and establishments creating bespoke mosaic art for interior and exterior locations. Dionne creates African Inspired mosaics for your home, office, garden, just about anywhere really.
Ayesha Feisal owner of Ayesha's Arthouse is a London based Visual Artist working in the mediums of paint and leather, Ayesha's began practising art in 2002. Using line and shape in her art, she creates complex, tender forms and uses colour to explore psychological states. Ayesha creates vibrant and captivating images which echo her interest in the cosmos, human consciousness and empowerment. Her work is an ongoing response to events and situations. She is drawn to portray characters with elevated mindsets, who move beyond the impact of circumstance, environment and social condition.
Dorcas Magbadelo is the self-taught designer behind Dorcas Creates - she is an illustrator and designer/maker from the UK. Passionate about representing, and uplifting Black people, specifically Black women through illustration - Dorcas has been drawing and creating since she was little. She says there's an excitement about producing work people can identify with: her prints celebrate the beauty and strength of black women in particular. All of her illustrations start out as pencil drawings which she then edits digitally. You’ll find a lot of bold colours, patterns and references to her Nigerian heritage. From artwork to greetings cards to brooches, check out her work!
Kilubukila in Kikongo means ‘be wise’. To be understood as a command, to others and more importantly to oneself.
Jess Kilubukila brings a cultural edge to the home. Born and raised in France from a Congolese (DRC) family, he moved to London at 19 years of age which is when he started claiming his Congolese-African heritage. The Kilubukila project launched in November 2017, working on the different layers of identity with a craft, furniture, and interior design focus. Upcycling and fabrics are the two key characteristics in each of Jess’s collections - created with cultural communities and building sustainable resilience to their collaborators and female artisans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The fabrics have a strong graphic focus, that gives the products a modern touch and the furniture is upcycled and locally sourced, this way Jess can get to know the story of the object and the person he got it from. The idea behind the product is to make one think, firstly through a striking aesthetic, then when using it, a feeling of comfort.
MODULAR BY MENSAH
Furniture like no other, Kusheda Mensah’s designs combine the fun and the functional in a truly unique and non-conformist way. Inspired by sustaining this idea of mutuality, the collection uses abstract tactical shaped furniture, to encourage others to create their own social spaces, with the ambition of changing this narrative.
Kusheda Mensah is a British born Ghanaian designer, based in London. Her love for furniture design and wide-ranging lifestyle pieces began whilst embarking on a bachelor’s degree in print design at the London College of Communication.
Mensah’s latest project ‘mutual’, was inspired by her reaction to the ever-growing rift social media continues to create between individuals and the way in which we bond. Mensah’s artistic remedy comes in the form of her interlocking modular pieces of furniture, representing the mutuality, connection and closeness shared between humans, as well as the human form itself.
MIND THE CORK
Jenny Espírito Santo, is the owner, designer and Jill of all trades at Mind The Cork. Founded in 2013 and inspired by the natural value of materials and the sense of history and heritage they embody. All products are made with natural cork sourced from Portugal; and handmade in Jenny’s studio or with the help of small but great manufacturers here in the UK. Mind the cork combines playful minimalism with sustainable materials to create products that are exciting, elegant and beautifully crafted.
Check out our blog archives for guides and tips on what you need to make the most of the social-distancing - and make sure to read up on all the best ways to support the BLM movement. This is our issue, we need to make things right!
You can check us out on Pinterest and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest trends and rug inspo. COVID-19 UPDATE - ONLINE SALES FULLY ACTIVE. Warehouse visits are now open by appointment only. House visits remain on pause for the time being. You can view one of the largest collections of Persian Rugs in London on our website and if you have any questions, you can contact us here.