African art and design covers a huge range of styles, cultures, and time periods - many of which have had a big influence on modern Western furniture and textiles. Wood carving, batik dyeing, and weaving are old art forms found across Africa, and you'll still find some of the best handmade stools, tables, and fabrics in places like Cameroon, Mali, Congo, and Ivory Coast (just for starters). Click below for a tiny cross-section of African design and its impact on some of the Western decor we see every day...
Diamond Pattern Floor Cushion at World Market for $40: These floor cushions pull their motifs from the earth-toned diamond patterns of textiles made by the Kuba tribe in Congo (formerly Zaire).
Bamileke Stools from Cameroon: These elaborate round stools take the shape of the tree trunk from which they're carved.
Black and Natural Tribal Print Pillow for $15: The fabric on this pillow is inspired by traditional Mud cloths from Mali made with earthen dyes.
Senufo Stools from Ivory Coast: These are traditionally carved by hand from a single tree trunk.
Alan Campbell Fabrics from Quadrille: Designer Alan Campbell's batik prints are reminiscent of West African resist-dyed fabrics.
This red feathered piece from Michael Aram's living room is a ceremonial headdress used by the Bamileke tribe in Cameroon. They're available at several American stores, including Modern Dose for around $300.
Places to look for African pieces in Chicago: Primitive, Douglas Dawson Gallery, and Ann Nathan Gallery.
Top Photo: Eames Elliptical Table ETR from Vitra