Nifemi Marcus-Bello: Affordable furniture for urban Nigerians

Product designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello works with local processes and artisans in Lagos to make affordable, lightweight furniture for aspiring, urban Nigerians.

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“It’s very tough and near impossible to manufacture anything in Nigeria,” says Lagos-based Nigerian product designer Nifemi Marcus-Bello. The young Nigerian manufacturing industry still has very limited capabilities and this puts a number of constraints on designers working locally.  

Marcus-Bello creates furniture that takes into consideration the skills and materials that he can find in Lagos, and uses these challenging circumstances as a way to push his design work and create products that resemble the kind of furniture you could find in Ikea, but with an indigenous twist. His previous collections include affordable, lightweight stools and chairs and often flatpack or stackable items. 

“I see myself as a functionalist,” says Marcus-Bello, “and I really do try to gravitate towards user-centred design. So making sure people really can use the product and it can actually improve their daily life.”

His latest range is for the Nigerian furniture store Joko. Launching with a bent-wood chair inspired by the ubiquitous plastic chairs you see all over the city, the range comprises readymade household furniture for aspiring, urban Nigerians.