Five interiors e-boutiques brimming with African vibrancy

Standout African style, from artisanal ceramics and handblown glass to beautiful basketware and wall hangings

The vibrant Juniper ceramic platter, £135, from Potter’s Workshop
The vibrant Juniper ceramic platter, £135, from Potter’s Workshop

Potter’s Workshop The Watershed, part of Cape Town’s booming V&A Waterfront design complex, where artisans sell their ceramics, art, furniture, textiles, fashion and jewellery, is home to Potter’s Workshop – and a table groaning with brilliantly coloured, handpainted cups, plates, bowls and platters in seductive shapes and designs rooted in African tradition. The heart of the business, however, is set in a park full of indigenous flora on the outskirts of the Cape Town conurbation. There, highly skilled craftsmen train for years to develop their own take on the company’s distinctive, intricate beadlike graphic and floral designs. Pieces can be ordered directly from the maker, or from Ibbi, which imports striking homewares from small crafts businesses around the world. Standouts are the Waterlily mugs (£22.50), Juniper platter (£135), one of those endlessly useful dishes that makes an occasion of ordinary dishes, and Benoni salad bowls (£35) in a fresh blue and pink palette – it’s almost a shame to put anything in them. Ibbi, 01434-409 085; ibbidirect.co.uk. Potter’s Workshop, +2721-709 0212; pottersworkshop.co.za. MARY LUSSIANA

Clockwise from top: traditional drinking bowl, £85, handblown glass vessel, £60, and Zimbabwean Fele basket, £75, all from Waterlane
Clockwise from top: traditional drinking bowl, £85, handblown glass vessel, £60, and Zimbabwean Fele basket, £75, all from Waterlane

Waterlane As anyone who has ever bought home accessories on holiday knows, colours that glow in the sunshine can look too dazzling in cooler light, while products made locally by hand can seem out of place back at home. However, Justin Van Breda, a London-based interior designer who was born in Cape Town, has an online shop specialising in African finds that offers only the kind of sumptuous artisanal homewares he uses in his own restored Georgian farmhouse in England. Van Breda regularly returns to Africa to source shapely Zimbabwean Fele baskets (£75), Ndebele basketware planters (£95) and from Madagascar, raw-edged traditional drinking bowls (£85), handblown glass vessels (£60) in luminous emerald and cobalt, raspberry silk cushions (£95) and blue-tinged hurricane lanterns (£180). Everything in the Waterlane collection is handmade from natural materials such as wood, ceramic, glass, bronze and silk – from tasselled Berber cushions (£150) to a white-painted rattan table (£125). Ceramics you’re unlikely to find elsewhere include jade-coloured bowls (£75) with a Slip Trail relief design and a Delft-style Protea vase (£42) with a decorative bluebird frieze. waterlanecollection.com. NICOLE SWENGLEY

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St Frank While my travels have yet to take me to Africa, my taste in interior decor is decidedly more global, especially since I discovered St Frank, a socially responsible startup that partners with artisans around the world. It was on the St Frank website that I first developed a slight obsession with exotic wall decorations. From Moroccan cactus-silk rugs (from $995) to hand-beaded Yoruba crowns (from $650) bestowed upon newly enthroned kings to provide spiritual guidance, to a number of other unique textile pieces – these finds are all utterly covetable, and are now filling my more materialistic dreams. stfrank.com. CYNTHIA ROSENFELD

St Frank specialises in exotic wall decorations and textiles
St Frank specialises in exotic wall decorations and textiles

Latimer Living Requests from guests about buying the tableware, rugs and lighting from the seriously chic Cape View Clifton guesthouse motivated Jess Latimer, its owner and designer, to launch Latimer Living – an online luxury lifestyle shop that showcases ethically sourced products from South Africa, Swaziland and other African countries. The products, which ship to the UK and Europe (and the rest of the world by arrangement) all have a modern African style with a contemporary feel – some are collaborations between Latimer and the producers. They range from ornaments such as decorative Impala skulls (from £408) and basketware such as small beaded grass boxes (£52) and enormously stylish copper and white wire bowls (£88), to side tables, like one in ebony and cream bone with a zigzag pattern and brushed-silver base (£310.50). latimerliving.com. MARY LUSSIANA

Latimer Living’s home accessories include decorative Impala skulls, from £408
Latimer Living’s home accessories include decorative Impala skulls, from £408

Baan-Baan This chic site fuses the best of rustic-chic European design with influences from as far afield as North Africa. Divided into 12 muted-palette categories, Baan products range from accessories to objects for the home to stylish scarves and sarongs and beautiful bangles and rings. The Lamps, Furniture and Basketry categories offer braided wicker baskets (€35) with camel-coloured leather trims as well as ethereal hanging bamboo lighting such as the Moon lampshade (from €95), available in neutral tones. baan-baan.com. CHRISTINA OHLY EVANS

A bamboo Moon lampshade, from €95, from Baan-Baan’s lamps range
A bamboo Moon lampshade, from €95, from Baan-Baan’s lamps range

 

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