African Minimalism – Àga Concept
We chat to Moyo Ogunseinde, founder of Nigerian design brand Àga Concept, whose stylish cooking utensils and homeware are finding homes across the globe
Through her design brand, Àga Concept, Nigerian designer Moyo Ogunseinde is making sure Africa’s cultural narratives are addressed and told all over the world. Her stylish range of spoons, spice pods, handle bowls, chopping boards, and other cooking utensils are inspired by African culture, yet have found homes across the globe. We catch up with the designer and chat all things Àga.
What makes your utensils unique? Our products are unique because they tell stories that connect you to our unique African culture. Through the forms, textures and colours we want you to instantly feel connected to Africa and all the emotions it conjures.
What’s the behind the name, Àga Concept? Our name ‘Àga’ is a Yoruba word, Yoruba being an ethnic culture and language widely spoken across west Africa. It means a ‘functional object’ or ‘furniture piece’ for any part of the home or space.
Your products are ‘inspired by culture and everyday living in Africa’. Could you tell us a little about this? Our main source of inspiration is my childhood and everyday living experiences in Africa, particularly Nigeria, where I am from and live. The sheer diversity and intensity of cultural energy in food, fashion, music, history, major cites and in life general fuels our passion for design. So we want to share these experiences through objects and furniture.
What materials do you work with? We started off using wood, then gradually added iron, bronze and other locally available materials. We are always exploring materials that can bring out the products in the most authentic way possible. We want the rawness and simplicity of the products we create to evoke emotions of culture and deeper connection to Yoruba culture and Africa in general, so any material, we work with must lend credence to our ethos.
I believe you design all the products yourself. How are they produced? We currently work with a team of artisans in and around Lagos and other parts of Africa to bring our ideas to life. They are masters of their art and it is extremely satisfying to have each product made by hand. Our team of artisans are woodcarvers, metalsmiths, sculptors, and artists who work with a variety of materials to ensure we achieve our design goals, functions and aesthetic. We love the relationship we have built with them over time and consider them as part of the Àga family.
Your favourite dish to cook with your utensils? This is quite hard as I am a major foodie, but I love using our platters to serve Grilled Plantains with a slightly peppery tomato sauce and giant West African snails!
What are your dreams for Àga? Our greatest desire is seeing Aga becoming a global design brand, designing and ideating work for large retailers, manufacturers, brands and cultural institutions that appreciate our unique aesthetic and point of view of Africa meets minimalism.