The Award Winning “Esho Table” by Damola Rufai

I often thought we had no proper furniture designers in Nigeria. I limited those that claimed they were, to your average, run-of-the-mill, mediocre artisans that made wood frame sofas and mdf beds.

Today, I stand corrected, and whole-heartedly apologise for my sheer ignorance. It gives me great joy and pride to see the indigenous creativity and talent, of Damola Rufai, the designer of the award winning Esho Table, part of his Esho Collection.


As he describes it,

The Esho  Table was designed as part of the esho collection. The collection which gets its name from the Yoruba word for “treasure” or jewel”  was designed with low poly graphics in mind to conjure up images of a cut jewel.

There were no CAD or high tech processes used in the design and manufacture of this prototype. Design was created from sketching and model making by hand, while the production was done by skilled artisans in Lagos, Nigeria

Its a minimalist composition of steel and glass, fabricated entirely in Lagos, as he stated above. Sure, you’ve probably seen steel and glass furniture crafted by road side welders too many times to remember, but, not like this. Not with this level of thoughtful geometry and symmetry. To think that the intricate web of steel tubes that make up the base of the table weren’t “generated” via CAD but simply sketched and modelled, is in a word, Impressive.


images and video via Damola’s Instagram Page

“Impressive” must’ve been the word on the minds of the judges at the recently concluded IO Furniture Innovation Award, where Mr.Rufai’s piece won him first place honours, of the 4 finalists, as well as N1, 000, 000. Further still, IO Furniture will be adding Damola’s ‘Esho Table’ to their product line and he will receive royalties on his design for a year. Right now, I’m guessing the Howard trained architect/designer/artist is a happy man.Muni-Shonibare-Damola-Rufai1-600x400 IMG_6503-600x400 IMG_6508-600x400 IMG_6507-600x400 IMG_6510-600x400 Esho-Table

To get the full gist of the IO Furniture Innovation Awards as well as the designs from the other finalists, check out this article.

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