The Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN) has described the Nigerian Architectural and interior design status as lacking cultural and historical essences.
This was made known at a just-concluded event to mark the World Interiors Day (WID) celebration.
According to IDAN, the Nigerian architectural pieces are devoid of colonial references and have little cultural and artistic value attached.
The group lamented that the country is not presenting it past particularly well.
In a round table discussion organised to address salient issues affecting the nation, one of the panelists, Miss Kaine Amachree started noted:
“I have been saying this for a long time. I am not seeing enough of our cultural references in our architecture and in our interiors.
” I am not talking about putting vintage antics on display.
“Most of the Nigerian architecture has no colonial references, it has very little culture except if you go to Kano or to the homes of the Obas or the Ooni’s and the kings, that’s where they keep all the beautiful African-based architectural habitat.”
Amachree cited that African countries such as Mali, and South Africa have retained their histories in their architectural pieces saying:
“You talk about a man like Francis Kere of Mali, you talk about the past.
“We took a lot from the South African Cape.
“We took a lot from our colonial masters. The houses were designed for cross ventilation.
” So you have big windows on this side and on that side. You don’t have that problem anymore.”
The interior design expert described the focus of colonial architecture saying:
“The rooms were made for the purpose.
“The person was there for a purpose for a period of time.
“So in a big colonial house, you had 2 big bedrooms, beautiful wooden floors; you had the cool air coming from cross ventilation, you had high ceilings, the windows were plumbed 90 degrees all over.
“You had wooden beams that are fabulously seamed and beautiful to look at.
“You have staircases that are created out of solid timber that doesn’t split or warp in any way.”
The business mogul lent her experience to the audience saying, “(There is ) no casting back to our influence from the colonials. We are not casting back to the symbolism of how we lived, the materials that we used- mud, grass, straw, ground shells, rocks and they were used for a reason.
“We have lost that part of our history.
“We don’t have an unusual design, we don’t have anything very, very original.
“We tend to copy and the internet has really permitted that.”
Amachree, who has over 25 years of experience in interior design and architectural drawing, went on to admonish the stakeholders
” I don’t want to see another Corinthian design or capital, I want to see something that is more African.”
She lamented the dearth of traditional skills.
“We are losing artisanal skills, we need to bring back the artisans from Edo state, I used to get carvers from there.
“We are losing weavers even those Hausa guys that used to do the hats. We are losing all those skills to importation.”
Miss Amachree revealed that sometimes she talks to young architects and say, “Why are you acting funny, why don’t you introduce this (African design) to your clients?”
The architects would respond, ‘The clients they don’t want this, they want Dubai,’ and according to her ,she would respond:
“Dubai is marble, Disney comics, Batman! They have created their own style.
” We don’t have anything amazing, original and very artistic”
In her closing remarks, the BOT member challenged Nigeria emphatically stressing:
“Why (is it) in America, we have the Design and Decorations (D&D) building, Architecture and Design (AD) building.
In London, they have the Chelsea Harbor Design?
“I want to see the day that we have our own design center that caters to not just interior design, interior African decorations to specialized interior finishes; where we have our own museum, auditorium, where we can have masterclasses and symposium for young students, where there are books, photographs. I will my entire library to that!”
World Interiors Day is one set aside by the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers to celebrate the industry.
This year’s theme, “Pride of the Past, an incentive for the future”, celebrates innovation and a future-forward look at the profession, while honouring the past and learning from its experiences.
The immediate past President of IFI and Founder of IDAN, Dr. Titi Ogufere said, “I thought that topic was important and for me, I always say if you don’t know your past you don’t know where you are going, you don’t know your future and that’s one of the issues we’ve had in Africa where we have actually been robbed of even knowing history, knowing where we are coming from, knowing who we are, our identity and that is so important.”