Cheick Diallo (1960, Bamako) is an architect and designer who lives and works in Mali. After graduating from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (ENSCI), he returned to Mali where he founded Diallo Design Studio in his hometown among artisans who manufacture domestic objects from salvaged materials such as old tyres, bottle tops, cans and computer batteries. With his team of artisans he manufactures finely crafted furniture and objects from discarded objects or waste; he makes his own work by designing everyday objects through a contemporary vision. Influenced by the Anglo-Saxon and French schools, Diallo advocates cultural mixing in his creations and his projects usually speak to a local making of using discarded materials and working mostly by hand. His involvement in the promotion of ‘Made in Africa’ design materialised in establishing the Association of African Designers in 1996 of which he has been the president since 2004. His work has been awarded multiple distinctions such as Elle Decoration’s 2014 designer of the year. His works are in the collections of major museums in France, England, Switzerland, Belgium and the United States. He has exhibited in numerous venues including: Mandet Museum, Riom, France; National Museum of Mali, Bamako; Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; Hayward Gallery, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Johannesburg Art Gallery; and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.
Le Fouta Organic
This pavilion, inspired by Mousgoum huts from Chad and Cameroon, is both an art object and space for visitors and events. Four elements consisting of entrances are nested within the central dome on a circular foundation. Unlike the single doorways of Mousgoum huts that heavenly frame and mark the entrance, Diallo multiplies them for ventilation and to open up discussion on accessibility, hospitality and belonging in the idea of home. Le Fouta Organic contrasts the use of durable materials with those that are fragile. The nomadic hut invites a sedentary lifestyle and is meant to be placed in several spaces. For Diallo, this elicits questions of precarity and temporality, pointing to architecture’s relationship to maintaining social conditions, specifically with respect to the slum dwellings that people are forced to endure.