The design world’s landscape is constantly changing – new trends introduce themselves, new places become inspirational hubs, styles are created (and old styles return) and new technology continues to evolve the industry. And Africa is not lagging behind as the continent’s interior design has witnessed subtle, nuanced and innovative changes over the last decade. But, above all, the most important design tool is undoubtedly people. The world’s best design is only accomplished because of its best interior designers. And since there can never be an answer to the question “Who is the best interior designer in Africa?” Pleasures Magazine takes a look at the 20 top African interior designers we’ve been inspired by and whose design moves we’ll be watching in 2019.
These are the designers we look to again and again. Each is distinctive—what unites them is their excellence.
Therefore, buckle up and come with us to find out the best interior designers that are making waves in 2019.
Get inspired by their marvellous design projects and discover the ones that best fit your personal taste.
KELLY HOPPEN – SOUTH AFRICAN
With her adoration for black rugs, black sofas, and interior environments, Kelly Hoppen was a must for our top female interior designers list. Her irreverent style mixed with her passion for statement pieces makes her simply unstoppable.
The South African born British designer has achieved iconic status designing houses, hotels, yachts, and jets. Kelly has her own collection of paint, fabrics, rugs, and ceramics. Dubbed the Queen of Taupe, Kelly is also the author of 7 design books. A clear selection for this list of top female interior designers.
SENYO TETTEH – GHANAIAN
Senyo Tetteh founded Ghanaian interior lifestyle brand combining local flavour with a global appeal,S.Tetteh and Associates in 1990 at the tail end of an 8 years stint of architectural practice in London, UK. Since relocating to Accra, Senyo has led the firm in building an extensive project portfolio that reflects both public and private sector experience.
DEBORAH OPPENHEIMER – SOUTH AFRICAN
Serenity is the overriding feeling at the sight of Deborah’s exceptional modern interior designs. The South African designer mastered the art of understanding materials and communicating mood through visual means during her early career in art direction and fashion design. After adding Switzerland to the list of countries she’s lived in, Oppenheimer launched her interior design business in Hong Kong in 1993. To this date she hasn’t stopped travelling, putting her creative spin on global locations, from New York to Phuket, where she fuses striking lighting solutions, elegant soft designer home accessories and understated luxury furniture.
EVA SONAIKE – NIGERIAN
Nigerian-German interior designer and home décor expert, Eva Sonaike, has a perfect stake in the growing global interest in African design, textiles and products. Taking the world by storm, her aim is to position the ‘African’ aesthetic in the global textiles and interior industry as part of luxury interior and lifestyle brands. Eva Sonaike’s products have been stocked in department stores such as Liberty, Fenwick of Bond Street and Selfridges in London, Globus in Switzerland and ABC Carpet & Home in New York, as well as in exclusive boutiques around the world; and regularly featured in UK and international interior and fashion press.
VERA MWANDA KAKUBO – ZAMBIAN
Vera Mwanda Kakubo is the Owner and Lead designer of Shayna Decor. She has a love and passion for interior design with years of experience and works on vastly diverse projects, both large and small.
A graduate of a Bachelor of Laws degree, she began a Corporate career in the Legal field. Realizing that life is the adventure we make it, Vera decided to pursue her lifelong passion in interior design to creat beautiful and livable spaces . She went to china to learn and experience more about the world of design and is now further persuing interior design with the New York Institute of Art and Design (United States).
Her expertise in design combined with her Legal background and Administrative experience has brought her design work to a national and even international audience. She has done work for polititians, former presidents and large corporations just to name a few.
Her projects range from commercial design to residential design. Based in Lusaka Zambia, Vera works with a team of designers, tailors, capenters etc. and prides herself on working closely with her clients and her team to achieve the highest standards of interior design.
HANA GETACHEW – ETHIOPIAN
Ethiopian, Brooklyn based designer, Hana Getachew started Bolé Road Textiles out of a desire to merge her love of Ethiopian handwoven fabrics with her career in interior design. Her affinity for vibrant colors and graphic patterns finally merged with her upbringing infused with traditional Ethiopian textiles, and Bolé Road Textiles was born. Her designs for Bolé Road are an homage to that cultural inheritance and a reflection of her own personal global modern aesthetic.
HAYLEY TURNER AND NICOLA ORPEN – SOUTH AFRICANS
In almost 8 years since they launched their studio Bone Interior Design Studio’s, Hayley Turner and Nicola Orpen have completed more than 70 projects spanning across the fields of retail, commercial, residential and hospitality with spaces like Charango and Foxcroft Restaurants endearing them to the public.
NIHAL LEHETA AND KARIM HAYAWAN – EGYPTIANS
These two talented Egyptian interior designers are the owners of Design Point Egypt, although they have many differences but they managed to make the best of their different styles and not make it seem as a challenge. Their style is marked by vintage and classic mixed with artsy touch. This team complete each other with their interior and architectural designs and projects.
CHRISTA BOTHA AND CARLA ERASMUS – SOUTH AFRICANS
Cape Town based design collective, Bofred, is proudly South African and was founded in 2014 by Christa Botha and Carla Erasmus. Bofred produces exclusive, eclectic pieces in vibrant colours and rich textures. As well as designing their own unique pieces, Bofred restores second-hand furniture into beautiful statement pieces.
EUGENE NGUGI – KENYAN
Award-winning interior designer and CEO of Planning Interior, Eugene Ngugi has well and truly made waves in the industry. The Nairobi-based interior designer looks to the past, present and future to create elegant, modern spaces, curated with an eye for distinctive materials, textures and finishes. A fine artist when it comes blending colours into room schemes, Ngugi’s projects can vary from a vision of beautifully tonal palettes (this cool, muted scheme is a perfect example) to an array of dramatic colours that clash with just the right oomph. He’s known for bringing interiors to life with ‘premeditated whimsy’, often embracing artwork to add a personal, playful touch. There’s also a powerful sense of symmetry in his work, which offers balance and calm.
HICHAM LAHLOU – MOROCCAN
Hicham Lahlou, the Moroccan designer whose signature is recognized throughout the African and Arab world, is at the top of his craft with two decades of experience in the design of cities, urban furniture, tableware, plastic art, commercial architecture, and graphic design.
Lahlou, who studied at Paul Cezanne middle school and Lycee Descartes high school in Rabat, found a passion for drawing at a young age which later developed into a love for design. He later moved to Paris to study at Academie Charpentier in Paris, from which he graduated as interior architect and designer. Five years later, he began to work with Airbus Industries and Siemens, an industrial manufacturing company. After working with renowned architect Aziz Lazrak, Lahlou created his own architectural collection inspired by Moroccan heritage in 1999, marking the beginning of his career.
Lahlou has now marked the four Moroccan bullet train stations of Tangier, Kenitra, Rabat-Agdal, and Casablanca Voyageurs with his signature.
ADENIJI ANDREW – NIGERIAN
Adeniji Andrew, founder of Andresen interior design is one of the leading interior designers in Nigeria. Andrezini interior, under the watch of Adeniji, has carved a niche in the commercial side of the interior design industry. With a focus on timeless contemporary design which enables them work on grand hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and bars; the firm have been able to make a mark in the industry. Andrezini interior flaunts the credit as the official designer for exotic drink brands like Remy Martin, Hennessey, Ciroc, and many more.
NTHABI TAUKOBONG – SOUTH AFRICAN
Exclusively designed and made in South Africa, Nthabi Taukobong started Ditau Interiors to provide an exclusive design service to a niche clientele, she likes to call ‘barefoot luxury’. An interior designer based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nthabi has a luxurious, yet effortlessly functional design style and a strong focus on creating liveable interiors created with an African touch.
FLORENCE AND CHRISTINE – UGANDANS
Rukundo Design and Décor is an Interior Design company owned by a mother and daughter team, Florence and Christine. RUKUNDO means love in one of Uganda’s main languages (Runyankole).
Rukundo Design and Décor provide a holistic lifestyle experience that fuses curated art, décor and design in a way that enhances love for life. The beautifully curated handmade interior décor and crafts are sourced from mostly women local artisans from Uganda and other African countries. Having both worked on women empowerment for most of their respective careers in development work. Today the firm is renowned for its “modern traditional” style. A look that impeccably mixes antiques and modern artworks, custom made furniture, and exceptional textiles to create dynamic interiors that are complex and layered-always comfortable and never overly formal.
OLUFISAYO BAKARE – NIGERIAN
A thoroughly trained interior designer, Olufisayo obtained her undergraduate degree in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Atlanta and her Master’s degree from Savannah College of Art and Design, both in Georgia. Bakare’s design philosophy is pivoted around cultural minimalism as she finds a rare balance between simplicity and African artistry. Set on distinguishing herself as a thought leader in the design field, she created her first company, Interior Living, positioned as the continental market leader and pacesetter providing world class design solutions with an Afro-cultural essence. Her passion for travel, anthropology, and culture have exposed her to curate exhibitions, document societal experiences, and envision thought-provoking installations within the design sector.
MONA HUSSIEN – EGYPTIAN
The award winning designer Mona has made her mark on many of Egypt’s most elegant interior projects. Leading her ambitious team she keeps encouraging them to keep up with the latest development, and to look for inspiration in the smallest details. Her aim is to create a unique and an influential spaces for her clients, whether it was residential, commercial, hospitality or architecture projects.
TOLA AKERELE – NIGERIAN
A very talented Nigerian interior designer and CEO of iDesign, whose work is always marked by simplicity, boldness, and unique ideas. In her work, her goal has always been to capture and incorporate fresh ideas of our culture and traditional aspects via technology and methodology, projecting it in a unique way by designing perceptional spaces.
She’s an experienced and intuitive business leader. Her brand is currently based in Lagos and she specializes in branding and interior design solutions for clients who are interested in contemporary and traditional designs.
MABEL MAKUN – NIGERIAN
Since founding her eponymous design firm Midas Interiors, Mabel’s story has forged a reputation for imparting to all her projects an ineffable style she can truly call her own.
Drawing inspiration from extensive travels, an active interest in contemporary art and fashion, and a rigorous lifestyle, Mabel wields a keen eye to exact her aesthetic vision: crisp, elegant, and comfortable gestures that thoughtfully balance multiple elements of good design for an everyday, polished life. With numerous accolades and project features in some of the top shelter magazines, Mabel is one of the top female interior designers to surely note.
PATSY MCDONALD – SOUTH AFRICAN
Cut Design, founded by Patsy McDonald, started out as a small laser cutting business in Pretoria in 2014. Patsy started selling at markets in Gauteng as well as KwaZulu-Natal and originally focused on lighting and clocks. Recently the designs have been expanded to include laser cut side tables that can be seen as “functional art”, as they incorporate hand-painted and engraved wooden tiles.
SARAH ANDREWS – SOUTH AFRICAN
Silwet Interiors is all about beautifying homes and offices with a high quality African aesthetic. The Accra based interior design studio was founded by Sarah Andrews, and focuses on merging traditional and modern design aesthetic to create one-of-a-kind effective furnishing and do not compromise on quality.