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​​10 years after, IDAN hosts World Design Congress

The Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) is billed to host the 2017 edition of World Design Congress/ General Assembly of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designs (IFI). This was disclosed at a meeting with the press, where the body unveiled the programmes.
The General Assembly of IFI, which is its highest governing authority holds biennially and it is attended by members of its executive board, past presidents, members and external stakeholders from member-countries and the event is usually a closed meeting.
The Congress, which will hold in November, will see hundreds of design professionals from about 110 countries converging in Nigeria to discuss the theme of ‘’World-Class Design in Regional Markets: Interior Architecture/Design into the Future.” Indeed, the Nigerian interior design industry appears set for interesting times ahead.
According to Titi Ogufere, President of IDAN, the interior design industry in Nigeria has certainly come of age, with the entry of more professionals who are introducing bespoke aesthetics that are turning residential apartments and corporate offices into attractive living and work spaces for satisfied clients. Founded in 2007, the association is the national umbrella body for the interior design profession. As the national body, IDAN represents members, including fully qualified interior designers, interior decorators, suppliers of interior design products and finishing companies.
Going down memory lane, Ogufere recounts that IDAN started in 2007 as a vision, which she shared with Ekuah Abudu. Subsequently, Ogufere approached other industry leaders such as Muni Shonibare, who served as the first president of IDAN, followed by Anselm Tabansi who was the second president, Moni Fagbemi, Sarah Daniels and Debola Omooba who served as initial board members of the association. Another significant contributor to the successful establishment of the association is Oliver Enwonwu. The renowned artist brought his wealth of experience working with NGOs to guide the process of setting up the association.
Over the past 10 years the association has grown significantly from a handful of members who started from a small office on Lewis street to an association which organises world class exhibitions, conferences, has it’s president sitting on the board of the international federation of interior architects/ designers and played an instrumental role towards putting together the first interior design curriculum in collaboration with university of Lagos, amongst others. It is in recognition of this remarkable growth in recent years, that the local body is hosting the entire world.
According to IDAN, IFI was founded in 1963 as the sole global voice and authority for the interiors profession and is regarded as the “UN of Interiors.” Interestingly, the federation, which represents and reaches out to members in some 120 countries, is strategically located close to the United Nations in New York City. It elevates standards for more than 270,000 designers, educators and industry stakeholders, as well as for governmental, promotional and institutional constituencies around the world.
Ogufere, who also doubles as an executive board member of IFI representing Africa and the Middle East, says Nigeria is excited and prepared to host design professionals from other parts of the world.
“Hosting of the congress represents an incredible opportunity for Nigeria to showcase its cultural heritage and indigenous designs to the rest of the world. Being one of the biggest design events in the world, it is expected to bring together major industry players from across the globe that will be looking to Nigeria for opportunities and inspiration” she added.
In order to make the event a memorable one, IDAN has set up a tested and experienced executive team, comprising led by the IDAN president, president of the association and Director of the African Culture and Design Festival, Ify Ighodalo; chairman of the event planning committee, Tola Akerele; Secretary General, Bunmi Ajagbe; Treasurer, Theresa Akpieyi; PRO with a seven-man committee.
Also, in the bid to ensure that the event is world-class in organisation, service providers who are noted to be among the best in their various fields have been engaged. Some of the service providers include; Eventful, Senantra, Demenage Plus, Okhma, Woodmore Associate, Geekconnect and Future Software Resources Ltd.
Ogufere noted that the congress has the backing of the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, a man who is without doubt committed to the promotion of art and design in the state. She explains that the governor has shown a keen interest in ensuring that Lagos is recognised internationally as a city with unique artistic and cultural offerings. Ambode has also expressed a desire for Lagos to emerge as a great rival to other design state capitals around the world, says the IDAN President. The event is supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, Ministry of Information and Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On the importance of the event IDAN said it will not only establish Lagos as a cultural hub, but it will also promote the African continent by exposing, redefining, rebranding and creating awareness of Africa’s homegrown creative talents.
Recognised as a key event for promoting dialogue between designers and design-related stakeholders, including government, business, technology providers and educators, the IFI World Design Congress aims to foster collaboration among various design disciplines, highlight the value of design-based collaboration in other fields and serve as the global voice of design innovation. Keynote speeches will be delivered across the design disciplines and the meeting will debate the global social responsibility of the industry and plot the future of design excellence.
Ogufere added that IFI has carefully selected experts from four different regions: Africa, Europe, America and Asia to attend the event as keynote speakers. They are Sir David Adjaye, Kunle Adeyemi, Alfredo Brillembourg, Dr. Carol Becker and Dr. Lou Yongq. The president was elated to share the fact that a special highlight of the event will be the African Culture and Design Festival (ACDF), an exhibition of traditional African art as well as modern and contemporary art and design.
The ACDF exhibition is themed “This is Africa” and will feature renowned African curators, artists and designers. It will explore the artistic history of the continent and chart the future of design, she reiterated.
“As Director of the exhibition and curator of the Design Pavilion, we will showcase the very best of contemporary designs from Africa to some respected and established designers and architects. The pavilion will include original pieces of furniture, installations, design objects, lighting and textile.’’
“The Modern & Contemporary African Arts Pavilion will showcase paintings, photographs, video art, installations and sculpture from some of Africa’s leading modern and contemporary artists and will be curated by world acclaimed curator Bisi Silva.” Azu Nwagbogu will curate the video art installation.
‘’The Traditional African Art Pavilion will also showcase bronze works, head dresses, beaded bags, sculpture, masks as well as doors sourced from the National Museum, including the celebrated Femi Akinsanya Collections and will be curated by the past curator from the National Museum, Ronke Ashaye,’’ Ogufere enthused.
The IDAN President notes that the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European artists who formed an avant-garde movement in the development of modern art in the early 1900s. During the period, artists like Picasso who knew nothing of the original meaning and function of African art and sculptures drew inspiration from what they saw. She added that modern-day designers like Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier and other world-renowned artists and designers are still drawing inspiration from Africa.

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