Near Bole Airport, a billboard features a massive QR code advertising the upcoming “Design Week Addis Ababa.” The rapid scan will generate an interactive AR representation of the event’s schedule.
The event, which took place in nine separate sites, focused on a wide range of topics, including technology, fashion and textiles, art and multimedia, graphic design, architecture, industrial design, interiors, food and gastronomy.
The first day of Design Week was a private event, and the rest of the week was open to the public, with the technological theme exhibiting Addis’s developing tech community. It was kicked off on November 21, 2022.
The following week was dedicated to discussing the remaining topics, and it culminated with a picnic on the final day.
“I wanted to demonstrate to the community at large that we have a wealth of in-house ability and do not have to go far and wide for high-quality creative talent,” said Creative Director and Founder of Design Week, Metasebia Yoseph, made the following declaration.
Design Week was first launched in 2015 as a platform for designers and artists to showcase their wares to the public.
In 2016, the company was asked to send two designers to Downtown Design Dubai, the Middle East’s premier design fair for cutting-edge creations. People were curious with Ethiopian art and architecture because of its innovative style.
One of the designers present that year was Jomo Tariku, an Ethiopian-American artist and industrial designer whose furniture features modern-African elements. Most recently, his work was used in Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Unfortunately, the spread and popularity of Design Week were stunted by the pandemic and lockdowns of the prior two years. This year marks the first time in many years that they have been able to fly freely again.
Metasebia says they are making a comeback from the dead, and they think this will prove it after COVID ruined their event. “I tend to go about my business without drawing much attention to myself. Based on the events surrounding COVID, I concluded that additional public relations efforts were necessary.”
The head of creativity claims a fresh strategy has been implemented in the revival of Design Week. “We have restructured and enhanced our PR and joined with Keste Damena to form Dink Multimedia,” said Metasebia.
Addis Ababa’s young digital artist Emi Sugimura was among the hundreds who attended. One of the highlights of her time in Ethiopia was the opportunity to meet and connect with professionals from a wide range of industries.
“Saturday’s Dink TV-hosted creators’ networking brunch at La Gare’s Tomoca Café stands out in my mind as a very memorable occasion. You had to pick three pieces of paper with the names of different artists on them and then go meet and network with them. For the shy, it’s a great way to break out of their shell and make new friends,” Emi remarked, contrasting the two events.
Emi is a creative and artistic person, so this gathering was a great way for her to find out about the many other creatives and their ideas going place in Addis that she had never heard of before. Emi was inspired to perfect herself and her job after observing the efforts of others in industries such as fashion and technology.
Attendee Maya Tesfaye, 28, an art lover, had been looking forward to it ever since she first saw it advertised online. The fact that it lasted an entire week and that each day was different added to the enjoyment. What Maya experienced turned out to be vastly different from what she had expected.
She emphasized that “the event was not simply directed at artists and art,” meaning that it also gave “room for other businesses with new and innovative ideas as well as networking opportunities where they could promote their ideas.”
Maya also noted that the event was well-organized, with great music and complimentary refreshments, which added to the event’s attraction to the crowd in addition to the many opportunities for networking and displaying creatives that Design Week has made possible.