I stopped into West Elm yesterday and was blown away by their latest African collections. The big box store that can be found across the US in shopping malls and plazas has been doing a great job of exposing it's cliental to more worldly and inspired products. They collaborate with designers and artists from across the globe and share their stories in their catalogue, website and blog. Every interior should have items in it with history or a personal story attached to it, West Elm has made it possible for mass produced home goods to have the warmth of a one-of-a-kind product. People can share the history and design behind their West Elm purchases at dinner parties! The tableware below is designed by Potter's Workshop; described as "collective of homegrown artists founded by Chris Silverston in 1991". In the video below Chris and one of her potters talk about how they let the nature and culture of Cape Town inspire the work. These beautiful, textural pieces would add personality to most any decor style, the most obvious choice would be an African inspired home but I could see these in a contemporary home, a mid-century style home, a country cottage or a in Martha Stewarts kitchen. Check out the handmade work of Potter's Workshop at their website.
West Elm and Potter's workshop also collaborated on a line of pillow cases to help customers pull the look into other parts of the home.
Another collaboration that contributes to the African Collection is with Cape Town furniture designer, John Vogel. His woven bench and dinning chair are so gorgeous, they caught my eye as soon as I walked in the door. The quality and design of these pieces are so striking that if I came across them in someone's home I would have never in a million years guessed that they are from West Elm! Vogel's designs are unique and would make great statement pieces in a home, especially if the customer can't afford one-of-a-kind furniture or doesn't have the interest in collecting fine furniture.
Check out John Vogel's site here.