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African Furniture & Furnishings Company Fagnidi To Show In High Point

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When it comes to contemporary furniture, there is usually a philosophy behind it. In this world where function meets art, a chair is not just a chair, and a pillow is not just a pillow. It’s a culmination of creative thought, culture, aesthetics, and practicality that creates the ideal object for the home. It’s also the hallmark of the Montreal- and New York-based Fagnidi International Group, whose 20-piece collection of contemporary African furniture and furnishings will be on show at the International Home Furnishings Market, April 27-May 3 2006, the Suites at Market Square, 200 W. Commerce St., High Point, N.C., suite #1-467. Seventy-thousand attendees are expected to visit some 2500 exhibitors from 110 countries, spread out over 188 buildings and 12 million sq. ft. of show space. “The concept of luxury is associated with the culture and the know-how of traditional craftsmanship,” says Fagnidi president Alain Michel Fagnidi, who founded the company in 2001 (interior designer Paris Monique Lee is Chief Manager of Fagnidi USA). Known professionally as Allen, he regards himself as an ambassador of style, bringing together African and other cultures while embracing originality, beauty, superior quality and luxury. Under Fagnidi, exotic materials, intricate textures, and masterful artisan-made construction make an irresistible contemporary, minimalist style. A native of the Cote D’Ivoire, Allen recognizes the need to meld personality with lifestyle. His philosophy borrows from the word Lagoh, which comes from the West African Bete language and means “Love under the Divine”. To him, the Lagoh design concept incorporates what he calls “Four essential values of well-being: tolerance, sharing, joy and faith. It is in loving ourselves that we are able to love others. In this way, the Lagoh concept allows us to reflect on our existence and how we may live it to the fullest.” In this way, Fagnidi borrows from the past while looking toward the future. The mix of exotic woods, Italian leather, metal and glass create pieces that offer a sense of connection and well-being to the user. For instance, the sleek, hand-sewn foldable “Deccan” chair of cognac buffalo leather is modeled after a traditional African birthing chair, while a matching stool has hidden storage space. The Guissa 2” couch features a clean-lined upholstered design. A box-shaped Alpha chair and Grobri table feature various woods like mahogany and ebony, the latter emboldened with a surface of glass etched with an African-esque motif to create multiple visual planes. While another table, the Beta, features a glass top that can be removed to change it from function to a piece of sculpture. Accessories also get the modern treatment, while in-keeping with Fagnidi’s design philosophy. A unique foldable bedside lampshade, made of two hand-sewn cut leather sheets, exposes the light by adjusting a leather strip: it can be fitted over a traditional brass or any other type lamp to create a dynamic dichotomy. Wines can be stored in a multi-layered, foldable rack of buffalo leather, and positioned either horizontally or vertically. Table accessories center around the “Aba” hand-etched glass platters, while a variety of pillows--made for floor or seating--are made in a variety of silks and embossed full-grain leathers which can be customized by the client. The result: understated modern opulence. Fagnidi’s interior design also reflects this, with spacious, airy environments offering clean lines, neutral color and exotic, natural materials, all the while creating a cultural melting-pot using pieces that live in harmony--again, part of the Lagoh philosophy. Allen started his career as a painter, and says he has always been inspired by the primary human need for shelter. Self-educated at the beginning of his career, he worked as a renovation consultant and real estate portfolio manager for a Paris-based company. After graduating from the Academy of Technology and Design in Montreal, he went on to work for Ferry Schoew in Paris and Abode in New York. He has shown in numerous venues, including the International Interior Design Show and the Home & Trends Show, both in Montreal; he has also been featured in international style publications like La Voix du Village (October 2005) and Maison D’aujourd’hui (Autumn 2005). For more information or interviews, contact Genita Ingram at 212-740-8048, or gingram@jdrconsulting.net Information on Fagnidi International Group can be found at www.fagnidi.com

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