Getting to know Chrissa Amuah and what inspires her:
Chrissa Amuah and AMWA Designs first burst onto the scene in 2015 at the Milan Design Week and the last 6 years have seen her go from strength to strength.
Back in July (yikes where is this year going?!) we were still slowly emerging from lockdown and our brunch events were still via webinar sessions. We were super lucky to nab some time from the really SUPER BUSY Chrissa Amuah, who, when you hear how she has been tackling the world in 2021, is just such an inspiration. Yes for design but also for energy and positivity.
Most recently, Chrissa has launched a textile collection with Bernhardt Designs called Duality, offering 6 patterns in 56 colourways. A feast for the senses. And she has also collaborated with Ghanaian architect Alice Asafu-Adjaye to create the Ghana Pavilion, Amplify, for the London Design Biennale 2021 at Somerset House.
Born and raised in London, Chrissa’s heritage is from Ghana, Togo and Benin and she describes herself as living with a sense of duality. She is ‘a daughter of Ghana’ and her West African roots are her source of inspiration; the Adinkra symbolism, its layers, colours and textutres being timeless, boundless and exuding positivity.
Chrissa firmly believes that there are no boundaries when it comes to design: “If the message is good and the visuals strong, design crosses barriers.” Her interiors and textiles evoke powerful and positive emotions.
And Chrissa brought that positive energy and inspiration with her when she spoke at our Brunch Meeting in July. We were so delighted she was able to join us, share her incredible journey, and showcase African design.
Getting to know AMWA Designs as a business….
How did AMWA Designs come about? What are your biggest inspirations or influences within your own business?
I am Creative Director and Founder of AMWA Designs, an Adinkra inspired handmade homeware and interiors textile brand which was established in 2014. My work is inspired by the Adinkra symbols and proverbs of Ghana which speak to our shared humanity and wisdoms that encourage personal wellbeing.
I’ve always been inspired by this idea of combining beautiful design with meaningful design in a way that seeks to empower us and bring peace to our personal living spaces. My own style I would describe as colourful, texture-filled and made with love.
I am also the Founder of Africa by Design, set up in 2017, a platform dedicated to promoting and showcasing the best of Africa’s very diverse design talent. We feature 34 designers from 8 different sub-Saharan countries: those countries being Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Eritrea and Senegal. Their works span environmental design, furniture and product design and textile design. It offers great opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas and talent, and reignite that sense of pride, empowerment and innovation with an incredible network of designers who share strong cultural and symbolic narratives and histories.
With all your knowledge in textile design, what Top 3 Tips would you offer for a designer just starting out in the Interior Design industry?
With all my knowledge about being a textile designer, my Top 3 Tips I would offer a new designer are:
- spend and invest as much time as possible in defining and creating your own style – there are a lot of designers out there – best to not compare yourself to anybody. Stand in your own truth, have strong convictions about what it is you are trying to achieve, what is your USP, what makes you different from what’s already out there.
- My biggest bit of advice would be to have patience because it is a long journey – it requires endurance and resilience.
- Also network and build a community – share your story – you never know how the dots may connect and who may introduce you to somebody else who helps to facilitate and promote what it is that you are trying to do.
What is next for you / your business?
What’s next? Who knows – it’s been a very exciting and interesting year. Obviously the world is in a very challenging place right now but where there is a will there is a way, so I look forward to seeing what the future offers.
A wee insight into Chrissa and what makes her tick…
Tell us about your own home… or perhaps about your favourite room in your home. What type of property do you live in?
I live in South East London – it’s an old Georgian house so I have relatively high ceilings which is nice and it’s a relatively spacious house so there is room to play – there’s always room to do something.
How would you describe your own interior style for your own home?
Eclectic. I have a lot of plants – at my peak I had about 60 plants in my home – I don’t think I have that number anymore?! I am in the process of redecorating – I think when you come to my house you definitely get the sense that this is the space of a creative. I’ve put examples of my work around the house. Its not the finished product of my vision yet – it’s a constant work in progress and I’m excited to see what else I do with the space.
A huge thanks to Chrissa for such an uplifting presentation and for sharing with us the beautiful textiles and designs you create. I certainly left with a spring in my step. Take a look at Chrissa’s wonderful designs at her website AMWA Designs .
You can also find and connect with AMWA Designs and Design by Africa via the usual social media platforms:
We look forward to watching Chrissa’s work and career continue to evolve and develop in the future, and I seriously can’t wait for more exciting collections and collaborations.
If you would like to join us in a webinar and have the opportunity to listen to more engaging speakers, like Chrissa, over a delightful brunch, then drop me a line and let’s have a chat.