“My intent with the pavilion was really to use the skills that I have to be of benefit to the multitude of people that represent the diaspora, a culture that has so often been marginalized, for them to express themselves.”
The Pavilion of the African Diaspora launches at the London Design Biennale in June 2021. The vision of the Pavilion is born from the need for a space on the global stage centered on the voices and contributions of the African Diaspora. This traveling destination makes a bold statement of creativity and heritage through art, design, and original programming.
Designed by Ini Archibong, and managed by Tamara N. Houston, with the architectural oversight of Perkins + Will, the first architectural “folly” of the Pavilion is set to be unveiled on the River Terrace of the historic Somerset House in London from June 1-27, 2021 with a planned international touring exhibition through 2023. Archibong, who is American of Nigerian heritage, hopes to elevate and facilitate the discussion of the value and importance of black voices and celebrate the global cultural influence of the African Diaspora.
The Pavilion of the African Diaspora is the debut initiative of the Archibong Heritage Foundation.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
INI ARCHIBONG is the present future of design. Named 2019 American Furniture Designer of the Year by Elle Décor, his work is characterized by a deep interest in craftsmanship and its intrinsic relationship to technology, and spirituality. Archibong’s work with global brands Hermès, Knoll, de Sede, Bernhardt, Sé, and Vacheron Constantin draws inspiration from his study of architecture, environmental and product design, as well as lifelong passions for mathematics, philosophy, and world religions.
Born and raised in America of Nigerian heritage. Archibong is an Alumni of Polytechnic School and the Art Center College of Design. After graduation, he joined Tim Kobe’s Eight Inc., in Singapore, before continuing his studies at the prestigious École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) – where he earned a master’s degree of luxury and is now a visiting professor.
Archibong’s work has been exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Alyce de Roulet Williamson Gallery in Pasadena; Galerie Triode in Paris; the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan; and the Dallas Museum of Art. Widely praised in the media for his vision and the quiet, poetic elegance of his oeuvre, Archibong is currently working on a series of limited-edition sculptural pieces for a 2021 solo exhibition at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York, and is creating a pavilion for the London Design Biennale.
Archibong resides in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
ARCHIBONG HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Tamara N. Houston
Tamara N. Houston is the Founder and CEO of ICON MANN, a corporate consultancy and content media company dedicated to positively impacting the narratives and imaging of the African Diaspora. In this capacity, Houston serves as brand manager, strategist, and impact advisor to Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy- winning artists, entertainment studios, and Fortune 100 companies in the beverage, fashion retail, automotive industries.
Before founding ICON MANN, Houston served as the Director of Film and Television for Sanctuary Music Group; managed the company’s music crossover portfolio for multi-platinum selling international artists including Eve, Floetry, Blue (UK), daytime talk show host Star Jones, and actor/producer Idris Elba. The William Morris Agency provided Houston her start in entertainment, working on the teams for Whitney Houston, Emma Thompson, Patrick Swayze, Elijah Wood, and Rodrigo Santoro.
Houston started her career in fashion design with famed American designer Betsy Johnson working on the collections for Ready-to-Wear, Ultra and the runway presentations. Houston is the Executive Producer of the documentary “Versailles 73: American Runway Revolution,’ ‘28 Men of Change,’ ‘A Salute to Sidney Poitier,’ and Associate Producer of ‘American Skin.’ A published author, « Waiting for Jules, » is Houston’s debut novel for Atria/Simon & Schuster.
Houston resides in Los Angeles, California.
THE ARCHITECTURAL TEAM
ZENA HOWARD / PERKINS+WILL
Principal, Managing Director of global design practice Perkins+Will, founded in 1935. Zena was lead on the Smith- sonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.. Her areas of specia- lization, museum and public spaces, focus on how environ- ments can be a framework through which to share essential stories—strengthening the wellbeing and advancement of communities. Her career has been defined by visionary, com- plex, and culturally-significant projects that navigate social issues of equity and justice, restoring lost cultural connec- tions by honoring history and memory.
FLORIAN KOSCHE / DIFK
DIFK is a structural engineering company interested in developing challen- ging architectural projects – no matter the scale – through collaborative design processes. The company was founded in Oslo in 2007 by Florian Kosche. Since then, DIFK has been involved in some of the most exciting architectural projects in Norway and Scandinavia.