Ethiopian American industrial designer and artist Jomo Tariku exhibited four chair and stool designs in partnership with Wexler Gallery at Design Miami/ 2022. He’s best known for creating ergonomic furniture inspired by his African roots – from culture to architecture, landscapes to wildlife, and colors to hairstyles. Each of the four designs that debuted at Design Miami/ have been produced as a limited edition of 18 and are exclusively available through Wexler Gallery.
Inspired by the elusive mountain antelopes found in the Bale Mountains of East Africa, the Nyala Chair’s hand-carved armrests and legs echo the animal’s horns and hind legs. The black ash furniture piece is carved and painted with white detailing that represents the markings on the Nyala’s nose and eyes. Its overall design blends a modern aesthetic with its own individuality.
Featuring four interchangeable back designs and an array of colors, the Qwanta Totem Chair is the evolution of the African Birthing Chair. It’s simply constructed with a U-shaped base and a backrest that slides into it, requiring no extra hardware. This version is inspired by the Gurage culture from Central Ethiopia, while the swappable backrest totems can be found in many parts of Sub-saharan African countries. The backrests not in use can even be displayed as wall art.
The Meedo Chair immediately brings to mind the iconic Afro Comb. Crafted in ash black with orange trim, it combines its history with the African tradition of a ceremonial seat that signifies leadership, unity, and kinship. The use of Afro Combs goes back at least 6,000 years in Sudan, and has come to be a symbol of beauty, status, and vigor through the Black Power and Black is Beautiful movements.
The Mukecha is a multifunctional table/stool inspired by traditional mortars and pestles used to grind barley, wheat, and other crops. The heavy-duty tool is used by women to prepare flour in a time-consuming process that’s usually accompanied by synchronized singing. Tariku’s Mukecha has orange ring detailing as a nod to the neck rings that adorn bronze busts from The Kingdom of Benin.
To learn more about Jomo Tariku’s four chairs, visit jomofurniture.com.