Friday Five With Olubunmi Adeyemi

Olubunmi Adeyemi is a Nigerian minimalist designer, interior architect, and lifestyle entrepreneur, as well as the founder of AFROMINIMA, a design movement and social enterprise, and THE DÅ BRAND, a design and culture lifestyle brand. (“DA” is the Yoruba word for “to make or to create”.) For the last 12 years Olubunmi has been creating multifaceted designs, building a design movement, and working on a broad selection of innovative projects and products. His work varies in scale from hospitality and residential projects to fashion and lifestyle products, encompassing product development, branding, interior design, and design thinking. Meaning “afrocentric minimalism,” AFROMINIMA is a design language, a design movement and a social/creative enterprise that focuses on social development, economic empowerment, and sustainable impact through the power of African culture and innovative design. Olubunmi studied design in both London and Cape Town, South Africa and is an alumni of Lagos Business School (Pan African University). He is currently working on a part-time masters program at Central Saint Martins (University of The Arts London) with the ultimate goal of earning a PhD in Design. Today Olubunmi is joining us for Friday Five.

He shared, “I believe design and culture is a powerful combination that can bring about social empowerment, economic development and sustainable impact – especially in these times of racial discrimination and issues of climate change. I also believe that the creative space, in comparison of size, is the sun and the earth in what we have achieved in art, design and technology. There’s a lot of room for more achievements and so far we have just scratched the surface. African designers have a lot more to offer than we can ever imagine, and I hope for a more diverse and inclusive world for all of us to strive, no one is free until we are all free.”

Photo: Olubunmi Adeyemi

1. The African Woman
This is Bukola, my wife, partner, and inspiration. She’s an interior architect with an amazing and creative mind, she’s an African woman and I believe that the African woman is truly a treasure to the world. We need to respect, nurture, protect, appreciate, and listen to them a whole lot more. Their strength, their passion, their wisdom, and their existence continues to inspire me every day. A list of African women that inspire me are in no particular order: Designers Lisa Folawiyo, Tosin Oshinowo, and Osaru Alile. Writer Chimamanda Adichie. Musicians Asa, Somi, Falana, and Fatoumata Diawara. Actress Lupita Nyong’o. And a whole lot more.

Photo: Olubunmi Adeyemi

I grew up with LEGO and it still gives this nostalgic vibe that continues to inspire me as a designer. I love cars, not just for their speed and performance, but their iconic history and design language. Porsche is definitely one of my favorite cars, and I recently bought this LEGO model and it was a true joy assembling it.

Photo: Olubunmi Adeyemi

3. Cape Town
Cape Town is definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I was fortunate to study design in this dynamic city. It’s got everything – breathtaking views, beautiful beaches, and design. It’s truly prospering in this city, it was the design capital of the world in 2014. I took this image during a hike to the top of Lions head. It was a real challenge getting to the top but eventually I did, and I watched the sunset and I learnt that day not to give up on anything you plan to achieve.

4. Dieter Rams
Growing up, my dad had some Braun products and for some reason I really loved the simplicity and functionality of these products. I later realized that Dieter Rams was the industrial designer at Braun. He is such an inspiration to me, and I continue to follow his ten design principles. About 2 years ago I bought a Braun wristwatch, it’s simple and functional which are clearly the principles behind his work – LESS IS MORE.

5. Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti is one of my top inspirational icons in the world, he is well-known for speaking against injustice, corruption, and bad governance in Nigeria. He is also the founding father of the Afrobeat music genre and his music is still as relevant today as it was in the 70s.

Work by Olubunmi Adeyemi:

Interior design for an art gallery reception


AMI Jewelry

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.