From Burkina Faso, Hamed Bransonka Ouattara transforms petrol and diesel drums into functional luxury furtniture.
Studio Hamed Ouattara, located in the heart of Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, is run by self-taught artist and designer Hamed Ouattara. reacting to his immediate African environment, where barrels of oil in primary colors are discarded after use, his creations cross continental borders, garnering praise from top international galleries, with purchases from major collectors around the world. These barrels - hammered and reworked by hand - offer a distinct aesthetic to his work, which transforms reclaimed metal into a functional, artistic design product, whether it's a limited-edition collectible dining table or multi-console -use. “Thanks to recycling, I am able to offer a truly local innovative response to waste produced from scarce resources in our region,” he explains. Hamed's minimalist philosophy results in unique pieces that have each been nurtured by his know-how. Working in a country where constant power cuts are the norm, and equipment is hard to come by, he uses these challenges to his advantage. The hinges and tools needed for each piece are made in his workshop, meaning every detail is carefully considered and totally bespoke. Hamed first exhibited in Brussels in 1998, and since then has shown his work throughout Europe and the United States. As a key member of Design Africa Network since its inception, he has participated in its group exhibitions at Graphic Africa in London, and GUILD in Cape Town. In 2014, he participated in a residency at the Museum of Modern Art in Algiers, and was the recipient of an African design prize. Represented by the Guild of the South of the Design Gallery collection in South Africa, Hamed's work was shown at Design Miami/Basel in 2015 USA, a testament to the exceptional quality of his work, his reputation as a leading figure in the contemporary African design. "Art has a role to play in the development of Africa", he insists on this fact, and my work reflects this conviction. Hamed's designs pay homage to his cultural ties, reinterpreting traditional structuring and valuing Burkina Faso's artisanal metalworking heritage, addressing a modern global audience through African innovation.