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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Design Stories: Amechi Mandi

Amechi Mandi is an emerging designer on the textiles scene, standing out with his colourful and playful African inspired designs.

Combining diverse cultural elements with a bold and eclectic selection of materials, Amechi’s purpose is to elevate his eponymous homeware brand beyond niche appeal.

Amechi Mandi X Heals

Tell us about your design background and the history of the brand.

I studied furniture and product design with the intention of starting my own design business soon after my studies – I did this three years later in December 2020.  I was fortunate to be invited by a former university professor to exhibit with him at London Design Festival in October that year. The head buyer at Heal’s saw my work and that’s how things pretty much started rolling, from the initial exposure through [my collaboration with] Heals.

Amechi Mandi

What does Amechi represent as a design company?

When contemplating Amechi, my mind is stirred by the vast array of possibilities inherent within the brand. There exists an expansive canvas within the domain of African-inspired home décor, where Amechi aims to carve its niche. The vision is to craft products that eloquently blend diverse elements of African cultures, utilising an eclectic mix of materials such as fabrics, ceramics, wood, and metals. All presented through a contemporary lens.

Amechi Mandi X Heals

How do you continue to be innovative in the industry?

For Amechi, innovation is not an explicit goal but rather a by-product. Our primary aim is to craft products that pay homage to my cultural heritage. This pursuit may occasionally necessitate exploration of unconventional methods or techniques to authentically capture the desired essence.

What has been your most successful milestone to date?

Being chosen for the Heal’s Discovers program was a significant achievement, and I believe it is our most successful milestone as it set many things in motion, which would otherwise not have happened or would have delayed.

Amechi Mandi X FLOORSTORY

How do you manage working globally?

I work with suppliers both in India and, more recently, in Ghana, 100% digitally.  While I’m not averse to taking risks, one potential drawback lies in ensuring good quality control, particularly when physical presence isn’t possible. In such a case, from experience, it becomes imperative to establish a robust system to effectively address potential issues that may arise due to physical absence. This is a constant work in progress.

Amechi Kirdi Collection

What is the biggest challenge for Amechi in the global textile design industry?

Because my textiles are quite colourful, it has been extremely challenging to find a manufacturer capable of crafting my woven throw blankets without imposing significant constraints to the colour palette. Its challenging to work around that without a design losing its essence. Compromises have to be made. I hope that in the near future, improvements in technology will make it possible to produce such textiles easily and inexpensively.

Amechi Mandi X FLOORSTORY

How do you tackle issues surrounding sustainability in the interior design industry in your own studio and processes?

We make sustainability a priority by carefully selecting materials and favouring eco-friendly options like Tencel over silk which we are phasing out. With the abundance of information available on sustainability, we constantly evaluate the best options. Our most sustainable fabrics are natural linen and Tencel, and we’re considering replacing our recycled polyester velvet with organic cotton velvet, despite the latter’s difference in colour reflection. Colour doesn’t print on cotton velvet as nicely as it does on polyester velvet but then, our collective contribution to our ecology is more important. We plan to be more active in bringing such awareness to our customers, especially on small details like these.

We strive to stay informed about advancements in sustainable design and are very invested in working with like-minded suppliers and manufacturers who share our commitment to the planet’s well-being.

What are you focused on for 2024?

For 2024 my biggest design focusses are to launch my own collection of throws, and I am very excitedly looking to develop something with ceramics, but that is all top secret for now.

www.amechihome.com | IG: @amechi.home

Rebekah Killigrew
Rebekah Killigrewhttp://www.rebekahkilligrew.com
Editor | www.architecturemagazine.co.uk | www.interiordesignermagazine.co.uk

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