Two women standing against a bright-blue wall.

Reform Studio and Designer Bibi Seck

IKEA is working with Design Indaba to curate their first ever African collaboration. Meet Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad from Reform Studio and designer Bibi Seck.


It started early in life: Mariam Hazem and Hend Riad were taught to always reuse and never let anything go to waste. These values led to bigger aspirations. In 2012 they established Reform Studio – an internationally recognised and award-winning product design studio. “Problems are an important source of inspiration to us. Whenever we start working on a new project, we walk the streets to observe people’s daily lives.”

The female duo is exploring and testing different ways to make the most out of waste in the world today. “It’s the idea of material fabrication under the umbrella of sustainability. We’re looking at developing different options that lead to unlimited possibilities. It’s super exciting.”

“We love IKEA and how it’s a company driven by a social and democratic pathos, while reaching so many people with different social standards and backgrounds. It’s every designer’s dream to be in every home.”

Man standing with arms akimbo against a patterned wall.
Designer Bibi Seck always places the user at the centre of his designs, no matter if it's an interior for a car or a watch.


Born in Paris and raised between London, Paris and Senegal, Bibi is a Senegalese designer and co-founder of the award-winning design studio, Birsel+Seck. Today, he splits his time between New York and Dakar, designing products and spaces.

Seck has design experience that ranges from car interiors to watches, but his approach is always the same: he places the user’s needs at the centre. So his idea for the collection is to design products that are in harmony with how Senegalese people actually live their lives at home.

“Even when you come from different cultures, in this case as different as Sweden and Africa, design is a shared culture. It is a human-centered way of seeing the world. Just like IKEA, we want to make people’s lives better.”

Recently, IKEA announced a design collaboration with twelve creatives from seven different countries in Africa and four in-house IKEA designers. At a collective brainstorming session in Älmhult in October 2016, they decided to focus their collaboration on the theme of modern rituals. During the recent Design Indaba conference, all creatives continued developing their ideas in open work sessions. This took place in a specially built house, designed by Issa Diabaté and Kevin Gouriou who are also part of the collaboration.

Design Indaba has become a respected institution in the global creative landscape, based on the foundation of their annual Festival that has attracted and showcased the world’s brightest talent since 1995. Today it comprised of a world-renowned Conference, an online publication, a Social DoTank and an annual Festival of Creativity. In 22 years, the Design Indaba Conference has grown to become one of the world’s leading design events, hosting more than 55 speakers and over 5000 delegates annually.