Casting Call
Wallpaper|August 2019

‘Echo’ lamp, by Brendan Ravenhill Studio and Maison Intègre

The craft traditions of West Africa may be largely uncharted territory for the design industry. But thanks to the French company Maison Intègre, which specialises in curating rare objects from the region and creating unique pieces with craftspeople from Burkina Faso, West Africa’s distinctive union of culture and craft is being brought to the fore, sensitively and authentically.

Founded by Ambre Jarno, a former television executive who lived in Burkina Faso between 2012 and 2014 while helping to develop a network there, Maison Intègre was born of her encounters with local antique dealers, who exposed her not only to African art and design, but its role in cultural traditions and rituals.

Since 2017, Jarno has cultivated a distinctive collection of furniture, textiles and objects that honours the region’s heritage, while easily fitting into the contemporary home. Including exquisitely carved wooden ladders that are commonly used to enter granaries in the Lobi and Dogon communities of Mali and Burkina Faso; statuesque stools carved from single blocks of wood by the Senufo people, who live in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina Faso; and sculptural wooden pulleys used by the nomadic Tuareg people from Niger to draw water from wells, the collection speaks of the fusion of form and function.

‘I really love the simplicity of the design, and the fact that we don’t call that “design” in Africa. It’s instinctive,’ explains Jarno. ‘Just in one country, there can be 15 individual ethnic styles. The diversity is fascinating.’

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine