From Architecture To Art: Tosin Oshinowo
From Lagos, Nigeria. Tosin's impressive background includes design and architectural degrees from Kingston College in London, a degree in urban design from the Bartlett School of Architecture and more recently curator of the 2nd Lagos Biennial. Ilé Ilà, her Nigeria-based brand, entwines her love for functionality and her Yoruba culture. Using her creative design skill, and strong ties to the Lagos arts and culture scene, Tosin designs period statement pieces with African contemporary flair.
Photo credit: Ile Ila
BUILDING A BRAND
Tosin’s architectural designs often fall in a realm of subdued elegance, dawning crisp white palettes and muted tones with wooden features. As the founder of the architectural consulting company, cmD+A, Oshinowo and her team have curated impeccable designs from corporate to creative projects personalized to their clients’ tastes. The Maryland Mall in Lagos, Nigeria remains one of her most popular architectural designs.
LINES MEET COLOR: CREATING ILÉ ILÀ
While her architectural aesthetic utilizes a minimalistic approach, her furniture design draws on the opposite end of the vibrancy spectrum and is known for its bold, colorful expressions. In 2017, Tosin founded Ilé Ilà, meaning “house of lines” in Yoruba, a language spoken by almost 80 million West Africans. Her collections are handmade in Lagos incorporating iconic traditional West African fabrics and Nigerian teak wood.
CELEBRATING YORUBA CULTURE & TEXTILES
At Ilé Ilà, each design celebrates Yoruba culture and Tosin’s minimalist, clean, and culture-rich approach to design. As a furniture designer, Tosin incorporates West African Aso-Oke upholstery, and hard woods in her pieces. She names each piece with Yoruba names from themes that inspired her work, such as Àràbà (“aged tree”) and Òkín (“the majestic peacock”). Nigerian highlife singer and songwriter Adekunle Gold sits on Ilé Ilà's Tunu Okun armchair on right.
Chidinma Ekile, the Nigerian singer-songwriter, sits as the muse of Oshinowo's Àdùnní Collection photo shoot. Àdùnní means “daughter of the sweet one” in Yoruba. The Adunni chair celebrates African modernism through minimalist design. Available in an array of colors, it is also available with a matching ottoman. The Aso-oke Nigerian fabric and teak wood make for beautiful chairs that embody beauty and grace.