Start-ups looking for avenues to sell, showcase or develop their products or ideas can do that at a very low cost and at a very creative ambiance with the unveil of Nigeria’s first design hub called Mbari Uno.
The hub which features works from several creative start-ups, houses conference halls, work space, restaurant, Show room, an exhibition Space, a reading room, small fire culture, Photo, Audio and Video recording and creating facility, amongst several other departments in a bid to meet the needs of various budding entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the launch, Chuma Anagbado, the Director, Co-founder of Mbari Uno (House of Collaboration), explained that the hub was borne out of the need to provide local references to benchmark the design practice in Nigeria.
“Mbari Uno (House of Collaboration) is prime space that will converge budding and professional designers to network the design industry, explore design opportunities, promote and establish the ‘Design practice’ in Sub- Saharan Africa.
Through its proprietary Exhibitions, Workshops, and Design Activism projects, Mbari Uno will collaborate with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), schools, companies, corporations, government, and host communities to develop frameworks that will promote the culture of probing and innovation aimed at creating sustainable solutions, developing human capacity, and improving the quality of lives.”
Anagbado stated that there has been a rise in tech hubs in Nigeria, while there is clearly a deficiency of African designers and an absence of a niche hub that would use design to solve indigenous problems and drive economic development.
“With Design being the first stage of any manufacturing or production, there is a need to understand its necessity and pivotal role in development, hence Mbari Uno is critical to transforming our economy from consumerist to manufacturing one.”
He also noted that the space which will bring design enthusiasts, emerging and established designers together to gain access to information, professional networks, experience and education while providing an ecosystem that will enable success and propel innovation in the bourgeoning design sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, is the first of many to come.
Speaking further on the functionality of the hub, Julia Obinna, the Hub Manager, stated that the hub houses several services. “There is a Show Room, an Exhibition Space, is a combination of a concept store, reading room and a lounge. It serves as a malleable space that can be used for product and art exhibitions, a reading room, and small fire culture events such as poetry reading and digital product presentations.
“There is also a Kol’s Bistro & Bakery; a char-grill bistro serving locally inspired delicious cuisine, drink, coffee etc. For Multimedia enthusiasts, there is Sylvan Studios which is a Photo, Audio and Video recording and creating facility. The Work Room is an open plan co-working space that is designed to inspire collaboration and innovation.
“There is Aziza Design, a multidisciplinary design firm using human-centered experiences to design solutions. Lastly, Learn Room which is an auditorium styled space that can sit up to 35 persons and is used for seminars, meetings, and, trainings can all be found within the Mbari Uno House of Collaboration,” she enthused.
The launch themed, ‘OneHouse’; a redefinition of Mbari Uno’s standing ethos; to solve problems using design via collaboration and innovation, is a one-month long event which started with the opening of the Blockpasto Exhibition and a series of other activities geared towards ensuring that the public experience design with a tasteful blend of music, art, and good food.