The Kofe Club Collection: Uniquely Nigerian furniture

Product designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello believes small-scale operations can lead to unique, Nigerian designs.

A ban on foreign furniture imports, limited resources, and limited manufacturing capabilities became opportunities rather than constraints for Lagos-born product designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello. His latest set of pieces, the Kofe Club Collection, reevaluates these limitations through design with affordability and sustainability at the heart of its ethos.

According to Marcus-Bello, he initially set out to create minimalist, functional, and affordable furnishings and fixtures for the Kofe Club, a coffee shop based in Lagos. The concept was then reinterpreted to investigate the possibility of an affordable, readymade furniture collection designed for urban Nigerians.

“This research process helped form a design ethos focused on stripping away the unnecessary without compromising comfort and functionality,” said Marcus-Bello.

The collection was made using locally-sourced, reclaimed lumber and steel, all locally sourced from the Bariga Saw Mill and manufactured in Yaba, Lagos. The cornerstone of the collection, the café chair, acted as the test bed of the design identity and the explored manufacturing processes, resulting in a relaxed design focus on simple shapes and silhouettes.

“The design direction was then translated to each product, giving each piece a unique identity, while still offering a cohesive direction to the overall collection,” he explained.

Using simple manufacturing techniques such as wood turning, bending and welding, Marcus-Bello created a ready-to-assemble, uniquely Nigerian perspective on furniture design.

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