Designer of the Day: Chrissa Amuah

May 16th, 2021 Written by: Ryan Waddoups for Surface Magazine

Deeply inspired by her Ghanaian heritage, Chrissa Amuah infuses the wisdom of Adinkra symbols and traditional proverbs into the handmade textiles and prints she creates for her London-based studio AMWA Designs. Her latest collection, called Duality for Bernhardt Textiles, channels Ghanaian symbology into a vibrant new collection of abstract upholstery fabrics whose colors, textures, and patterns coalesce to empower on multiple levels.

Describe what you make: Personal wellbeing underpins the intention behind my design practice. I use Ghanaian Adinkra symbology as my inspiration.

Duality for Bernhardt Design

The most important thing you’ve designed to date: It’s all always important.

Describe the problem your work solves: It nurtures an appetite for color, texture, and meaningful design.

Describe the project you are working on now: I’m so excited to have just launched a textile collection with Bernhardt Design. Called Duality, the assortment explores symbolism, texture, color, and pattern—all of which is inspired by my Ghanaian heritage. It includes six patterns in 56 colorways. The collection offers contemporary and beautiful designs with meaning.

And, of course, Amplify, the Ghana Pavilion for London Design Biennale 2021. Amplify explores the engagement between Ghana, Great Britain, and Denmark over four centuries. The architecture of Somerset House and its 450-year history provide the perfect foil for this installation.

A new or forthcoming project we should know about: Amplify focuses on the “what ifs” and “maybes” of an imaginary balanced cultural interchange of ideas and trade that could’ve happened instead of slave trade and colonization. Amplify is an exploration of how the Gold Coast might have also influenced European architecture and social culture.

Amplify demonstrates how mutual growth and development benefit all. Its essence speaks very much to current times and the need for a new discussion about the celebration of Africa. Amplify speaks to our shared humanity and desire for a future that nodes to cultural and societal exchanges that are both celebrations and tools of learning.

What you absolutely must have in your studio: Music, scented candles, and positive vibes.

What you do when you’re not working: Work, laugh with friends… before Covid-19 I practiced aerial silks.

Sources of creative envy: Envy doesn’t exist in my DNA, but I have many random sources of inspiration.

The distraction you want to eliminate:

Hmm? None.

Concrete or marble? Oooh, this is a tough one. Marble. No, concrete… no, marble… hmm… Mar’crete?

High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.

Remember or forget? Remember.

Aliens or ghosts? Ghosts.

Dark or light? Both are alright.

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