contemporary furniture

Meet Oluwatobi – The Contemporary Furniture Designer

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Oluwatobi Oreoluwa, also known as ICON, tells African stories through contemporary furniture design.

 

On how he started, he says, “Architecture was my first point of touch with furniture design, designing simple furniture for interior spaces for school projects and doing a course in woodwork. But it was during my industrial training I noticed a void in the furniture space, it was this time it moved from just an interest to a dream.”

“Challenges are always very good in business, they make you better at the game,” he believes. “I usually say that many of these challenges can be worked out but there’s a major challenge I have faced & it is the challenge of skill. There is a problem with syncing creativity with skill in the industry; many of the skilled people are leaving the shores of the country to find opportunities elsewhere. This challenge, unlike other challenges, is a bit troubling every-time.”

 

Oluwatobi draws inspiration from culture and from our everyday stories. “I think as a people, we do not look around us enough to see the gems in the fabric of our everyday lives, the details that make us who we are, it is these details that we put into our works.”

The first and second projects he did were handed to him by his father. “While I was trying to figure out my business model, he gave me money to work on our living room furniture, I saw how he told anyone that cared to listen “my son did that” It gave me an “over the moon” confidence in myself, after the living room furniture, He contracted his office furniture to me again, it meant so much to me and did boost my confidence significantly.”

Moving forward, “we are looking to scale the business to cater to a larger customer base.  The goal is to have an Alága piece in every home in Africa and in every city world over. This can only be done with an enabling environment and funding.”

He believes the Nigerian youth need opportunities not empowerment. “We need an environment where we can thrive regardless of tribe or religion. We will be surprised how much the Nigerian youth can make happen when there’s an ease of doing business, when social amenities are in place. The idea of empowerment with bikes, wheel barrows and what have you keeps many youth in a small space, a small mindset, where they do not see themselves more than that of a truck pusher. We need to create more opportunities and less incentive.”

Reach him on

Website: www.alagacollections.com

Twitter: @alaga_ng

Instagram: @alagacollections

Facebook: Alaga Collections

Email: ibeere@alagacollections.com

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The Spark is a youth empowerment platform in Nigeria that projects the average Nigerian youth doing something, anything positive. Our mission is to reach out to as many youths, “EMPOWER and ENGAGE!!!