Now Reading
DESIGN: Ini Archibong celebrates black creativity and evolution of African heritage through design at London Design Biennale June 2021

DESIGN: Ini Archibong celebrates black creativity and evolution of African heritage through design at London Design Biennale June 2021

The Pavilion of the African Diaspora which launches at London Design Biennale in June 2021.   The vision of the Pavilion is born from the need for a space on the global stage centred on the voices and contributions of the African Diaspora. This traveling destination makes a bold statement of creativity and heritage through art, design and original programming.

Archibong, who is American of Nigerian heritage, hopes to elevate and facilitate the discussion of the value and importance of black voices and celebrate the global cultural influence of the African Diaspora.

Resonance being the theme of the 2021 Biennale, immediately reverberated with Archibong when he was contacted in 2020 by the Biennale’s Artistic Director, Es Devlin. Archibong viewed it as an opportunity to use design as a catalyst for conversations around race and equality that are more critical than ever. “My intent with the pavilion was really to use the skills that I have to be of benefit to the multitude of people that represent the diaspora, a culture that has so often been marginalized, for them to express themselves.” – Ini Archibong   


During the design process, Archibong looked to the Conch and Cowrie shells for inspiration. The Cowrie was once used in trade as a form currency across Africa and beyond; the Conch shell, knows as Triton’s horn, represents the hope for a resounding blast to resonate from a distant shore — a trumpet’s call, urging the people of the Diaspora to assemble and enact action.

The Pavilion of Africa Diaspora will appear in the form of three structures. THE SAIL will be unveiled in London during the Biennale this June. This will be followed by THE WAVE in New York city in the autumn of 2021, and THE SHELL, which will debut in Miami for Art Basel in December 2021. The three follies will serve as a mobile destination spotlighting the diverse histories of persons of African descent.



During the four weeks of the London Design Biennale, the Pavilion will feature specialised talks, curated one-on-one interviews, exclusive panel discussions and music of the African Diaspora. The details will be revealed in May, in line with Covid guidelines.



In absence of a country’s support, the pavilion is supported by a group of global leaders from various industries and backgrounds. The High Council includes:

  • §  Robert Battle, Artistic Director, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • §  Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech
  • §  Dame Vivian Hunt DBE, Senior Partner at McKinsey and trustee of The British Museum
  • §  Swiss Ambassador Jacques Pitteloud and Madam Angelique Pitteloud
  • §  Nile Rodgers, GRAMMY-winning composer, producer, guitarist and Chief Creative Advisor for Abbey Road Studios
  • §  Franklin Sirmans, Director of the Perez Art Museum Miami
  • §  Monetta White, Executive Director of the Smithsonian’s Museum of the African Diaspora San Francisco §  Zoe Whitely, Director of Chisenhale Gallery.

Additional names to be announced. The High Council will be responsible for assisting in the curation of the Pavilion’s event programming, identifying key funding partners and bringing the Pavilion to the forefront of their respective industries.

See Also



§  Elevating the conversations surrounding the African Diaspora through design

§  The Pavilion will celebrate the evolution of African heritage and the contributions of people of African Descent, including artists, designers, educators and more, through physical design, community and events

§  A variety of influential figures from the worlds of art and design will form a High Council, an advisory body that will help steer the vision and execution of the Pavilion 

§  A series of programs will accompany the structure, with panels, educational experiences and social events curated around black excellence, beginning in June 2021 in London, and continuing on throughout the Pavilion’s global exhibition tour, ending 2023.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply