The Studio Hamed Ouattara, situated in the heart of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s energetic capital, is led by self-taught artist and designer Hamed Ouattara. Resulting from a reaction to his immediate African environment, where oil barrels in popping primary colours are discarded after use, his designs transgress continental borders, gathering praise by top international gallerists, with purchases by important collectors around the globe.
These disused oil barrels – hammered, shaped and repurposed by hand – offer a distinct aesthetic to his work, which turns the salvaged metal to a functional, artistic homeware product, be it a collectible-edition dining table or a multi-use console.
« Through recycling, I’m able to offer a truly local, innovative response to waste products made from scarce resources in our region » he explains.
Hamed’s minimalist philosophy results in unique pieces that have each been nurtured by his craftsmanship. Working in a country where constant power outages are the norm, and equipment is difficult to procure, he uses these challenges to his advantage. The hinges, nails and tools necessary for each piece are crafted in his studio, meaning that every detail is carefully considered and utterly bespoke.
Hamed first exhibited in Brussels in 1998, and, since then, has shown his work across Europe and in the USA. As a key member of Design Network Africa since its inception, he has participated in its group exhibitions at Graphic Africa in London, and GUILD in Cape Town. In 2014, he completed a residency at the Museum of Modern Art of Algiers and was the recipient of an African Design Award. Represented by South Africa’s Southern Guild Collectible Design Gallery, Hamed’s work was shown at Design Miami/Basel in 2015, a testament to the exceptional quality of his work, sealing his reputation as a leading figure in contemporary African design. ‘Art has a role to play in the development of Africa,’ he insists, ‘and my work reflects this conviction.’ Hamed’s designs pay homage to his cultural ties, re-interpreting traditional patterning and highlighting Burkina Faso’s artisanal metal-working heritage, addressing a modern global audience through African innovation.