Forget what you know about Africa, the world’s second-largest continent is journeying to new frontiers.
Through media, events and performance, la Rinascente demonstrated the exciting mind-shift in African technology and how it’s radically shaping new notions of design. Activities included travelling into space, watching Chinafrica TV, customising coffins or writing-your-own African pulp fiction.
From South Africa’s FabLabs to Kenya’s ‘Silicon Savannah’, the tech boom in Africa is a certainty.
Africa’s digital diaspora has elbowed its way into the Afropolitan conversation, but there’s a newer narrative emerging – African design.
The continent is developing on its own terms, with savvy innovators emerging from the creative quarter and re-branding their urban spaces. It’s moving away from visual clichés and forging experimental collaborations with technologists, writers, musicians, photographers, illustrators, architects, coders, developers and cultural commentators.
This is a movement that’s modifying Africa’s past and present and bringing it into the future.
‘Afrofuture’, an experimental programme curated by, will ambitiously initiate an international design discourse around the exciting new conversations bursting out of all corners of Africa.
The curators said …. : ‘As the design world expands its reach beyond aesthetics to encompass networks, strategies and unexpected tactics, Africa becomes an urgent critical voice in the global conversation.
In the Afrofuture we imagine the African Union as the world’s most powerful economic zone, we imagine DIY space travel and biomorphic militarized Kwazulu vervet monkeys.We present Chinafrica state TV , futuristic instruments and contemporary African pulp fiction.’
Nobody needs to be told that retail has changed; the manner in which goods are designed, made, distributed and promoted has truly been revolutionized in the last decade.
But amongst the challenges Rinascente sees opportunity. “We believe that our future is defined by our stores’ role as hubs for the city. They are places that reflect the energy and character of the city.
Curated retail experiences like ‘AFROFUTURE’ enable Rinascente to stimulate conversation and excitement. They create a platform for innovation and interaction.
“They are destinations for social and cultural experiences alongside innovative goods and services. They are places of aggregation for the exchange of ideas and experiences” …… Vittorio Radice, Vive President of Rinascente
Beatrice Galilee is a London-based curator, writer, consultant and lecturer, specialising in the dissemination of critical ideas in contemporary architecture and design.
She is the chief curator of the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Closer’, director of The Gopher Hole, architecture contributor at Domus and other international titles, and associate lecturer at Central St Martins.
She has worked as a curator at 2012 Hacked Milan, 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale, 2009 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale and is the former architecture editor of Icon Magazine.
Nana Ocran is a London-based writer and editor specialising in contemporary African culture.
She was Editor-in-Chief for the Time Out Group’s series of guides to Lagos and Abuja and has consulted on and established publications on West African culture for the Danish FilmInstitute, the Arts Council England and the Institute of International Visual Arts.
She was a nominee for CNN’s African Journalist of the Year (2011), and regularly writes and researches on the African diaspora.
La Rinascente, Milan
La Rinascente was built on strong creative partnerships and original talent.
From the moment the Bocconi brothers opened their first store on the Piazza Duomo in 1865 their presence has been an enduring one.
It’s a presence that has not only made itself felt in every one of the 10 cities that it occupies, but one with innovation at its core.
La Rinascente has been both a catalyst and guardian for good design.
It’s stood at the forefront of some of retail’s greatest moments – Mary Quant unveiled the miniskirt in the Duomo store.
And as the founder in 1954 of the design prize ‘Compasso d’Oro’, it continues to reward design trailblazers today.
Today, la Rinascente stores aim to enhance the cultural life of the cities they live in. As a conduit, commentator, celebrant and where possible, enabler of culture.
Nowhere is this more important than at la Rinascente Piazza Duomo, Milan