There were two chairs in this design by Espirit Ethnique at Afrika Handmade 2016—one upholstered with a predominantly green print, and the other mostly orange. The material was purchased from the Masaai Market at Yaya Centre and a special brush technique was employed to create the unique effects on the metal frame.
A few years ago, French-born Viviane Clero (the designer) co-founded Espirit Ethnique with her friend and business partner Saida O’Neill.
A journalist by training, Viviane has only spent four years in the country of her birth, having lived in Germany, the South Pacific and Tanzania. When Viviane moved to Kenya 14 years ago she found Nairobi “too stressful” and settled in Machakos because it met her requirements of a quieter, “small town, near Nairobi.” Viviane's designs are inspired by her current home and transient background.
All of Espirit Ethnique’s designs are made in their workshop in Machakos, where they employ ten craftspeople from Ukambani. You can see more of the brand’s designs in their gallery on Nandi Road, Karen.
On Sunday 2 October, 2016 Craft Afrika opened the third installation of the Afrika Handmade Gallery to exhibit work from regional artisans and designers. The two-week event at Alliance Française, Nairobi, presented designs from home décor and textile companies; a prefabricated living pod from Two by Four; and a selection of artwork from the One Off Contemporary Art Gallery. Maridadi.co partnered with photographer Brian Siambi (better known on social media as @urbanskript) to feature a selection of designs from the exhibition.