Dakar Collection: A Transcontinental Collaboration

David Weeks and Abdou Salam Gaye's furniture collection was inspired by Dakar, Senegal's capital city.

In early 2016, David Weeks was thousands of miles above the Atlantic in a plane bound for Dakar, the Senegalese capital. Armed with a street address, he was en route to meet the artist and designer Abdou Salam Gaye, whom he had encountered only once before, briefly, at an opening in New York. Weeks arrived at lunchtime, ready to make some furniture. “By the end of the day, we had built a chair,” he recalls. The transcontinental collaboration that ensued eventually became the Dakar collection, which debuts at the David Weeks Studio storefront in Lower Manhattan this month during NYCxDesign. Imbued with modernist silhouettes, each of the eight hand-woven pieces shares the fabric of the Dakar community, and not just metaphorically: The material, nylon cord, can be found in the nets of local fishermen. The spools were bought “off the shelf,” says Weeks, and the collection’s table, chaise, chairs, and pendant lighting retain the original coloring, from glossy black to near-fluorescent hues of blue, green, yellow, and more. The spiraling orange-and-pink pattern of the Amaca chair—which Weeks thinks is “probably the funkiest in the whole collection”—also made an appearance at Salone, where it was featured by Moroso as one of the seating collaborations making up the Italian company’s new M’Afrique collection. Though the Amaca can certainly hang with its high-concept contemporaries at Salone, it’s the product of an improvisational streak straight out of an industrial designer’s nightmares. “That’s one of the great things,” says Weeks. “No straight lines or exact measurements.”

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