Eva Sonaike talks about her passion for design and her Falomo Collection.
What inspired your showcase at Maison & Objet, Paris?
I have been participating at trade shows in London and the US, but I was looking for the best platform to showcase my work with a high-end international audience.
Maison & Objet is in my opinion, the best trade show if you are working in the field of decoration, design, furniture, accessories, textiles, fragrances and tableware. It is a tough show, as it is massive and the competition is fierce, but if you have a good product and strong brand you will succeed.
What informed your passion for Design and Decor? Tell us about the moment you decided to pursue this path?
I was a journalist working in fashion and lifestyle. I loved my job, but with many years experience, many designers consulted my opinion of the products, branding and PR strategies. I always loved interiors and had spent a lot of time decorating my rooms and apartments even as a young girl. After 10 years as a fashion editor for a glossy magazine, I decided to follow my real passion with my own soft furnishings and textiles business.
I started this, while still working full time in fashion, but soon realised that this was the way forward for me. When I started, there weren’t any companies specialising in a luxury West-African aesthetic, so I saw a gap in the market and did it. I have never looked back!
What is your favourite reading material on Design?
This is a difficult question. I have an entire library full of books on Design in my studio. I love the 20th Century Design by Judith Miller. I use it as a constant reference on Design eras. It is a must-have for any Design and Interior enthusiast, who wants to get more in-depth knowledge. I also love Kelly Wearstler’s hue, which is a great source of inspiration for colourful interiors.
And of course, Contemporary African Design by Tapiwa Matsinde which offers a refreshing challenge to rigid perceptions of what African design looks like. Focusing primarily on interior decoration, the book presents fifty designers, artisans, and cooperatives based on the continent or part of the diaspora who are creating sophisticated and innovative products and interiors.
What is your favourite Design site?
In terms of sites, I love Houzz (I have a profile on the site) to get inspiration on great interiors and architecture. I am also a property lover, so I am regularly on Zoopla to see what’s on the market and if I need some escapism and inspiration, you find me browsing on http://www.whiteibiza. com/ to see some great properties in Ibiza.
What inspires you?
Unusual colour combinations, Architecture, Art, Street-life, I think if you look, you can find inspiration everywhere. Whenever I am in Nigeria, especially in Lagos, I see a lot of things that inspire me. Often the little things that are easily overlooked are great sources of inspiration.
What are the most frustrating and rewarding aspects of your job as a designer?
I love designing but as a commercially successful entrepreneur, I have to spend 70% on running my business and only 25% on design. I love all of it but sometimes, I would love to be creative and spend weeks researching and designing. The most rewarding aspect is being able to do what I love day in, day out. Getting to my studio and seeing my name there (we have the company logo on the wall) is extremely rewarding.
In your opinion, is design an Art or a Science?
For me, it is an art form!
How do you manage to keep your designs traditional/African?
I wouldn’t describe my designs as traditionally ‘African’, but more as contemporary ‘African’. That is what I am! I think many creatives from around the world are influenced by their lives, surroundings, childhood memories and
culture and I am an African! I also am an ambassador for highlighting the commercial viability and luxury of Africa, which, unfortunately, is still often overshadowed by negative connotations.
What impact does the African Brand have on the Design World?
I think it is important to be here and represent Africa. There are so many African designer proms across the continent and the Diaspora that put the African aesthetic on the design map. The last ten years especially, has seen a renaissance in African design. I feel that in the design world, there is a big market for a more prominent African aesthetic and the response to our brand has been great from the movers and shakers in the industry.
If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
To be honest, I wouldn’t create anything new, as I already created everything that the brand needs. I believe in always finding ways to do the things you want. We are already investing in marketing and I would push that further to get more visibility around the globe. But I am doing that anyway. The sky is my limit and Eva Sonaike is growing
year by year.