The Waaw collection, a line of woven furniture and pendant lighting. The collection is designed by David Weeks Studio and produced in collaboration with Senegalese artist and designer Abdou Salam Gaye in Dakar, Senegal. The furniture and lighting are hand-woven in a traditional weaving method with nylon cord locally sourced from the city’s market. The construction and material grants them indoor/outdoor flexibility. The full collection consists of nesting coffee tables, chaises, lighting, dining chairs, and large format lounge chairs. This limited edition collection will be offered at our storefront in TriBeCa.
The Waaw Collection will be on display along with sculptural works by Elodie Blanchard.
Thursday, May 18th
6 – 9pm
David Weeks Studio
38 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013
David Weeks Studio x Moroso M’Afrique – Amaca
While developing the Dakar Collection with Abdou Salam Gaye, David Weeks began discussion with Patrizia Moroso to include one of the pieces, the Amaca lounge, in Moroso’s proprietary M’Afrique collection. The Amaca’s form is the culmination of working with traditional materials, local weaving methods and Moroso’s willingness to experiment. The warp and weft of the weave combined with the spiral nature of the design create a moiré pattern, and can be executed in myriad color combinations. The Amaca debuted this year in Milan at the Moroso booth during Salone and will also be featured at the SoHo Moroso showroom in New York during ICFF.
May 20th, 6-9PM
146 Greene St
New York, NY 10012
On a hot afternoon in February I was greeted at the Dakar airport by Abdul Salam Gaye — a man I had met only briefly at an opening in New York City a year earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect when he gave me the opportunity to work with his studio in Senegal. Winding through the streets of Dakar, we ended up at a completely nondescript steel gate stuck between an automotive engine repair shop and a threadbare foosball table propped up on wreckage with a group of kids engaged in a heated game. Inside the gates was a small courtyard with 10’ high cinderblock walls. A portion of the shop floor was covered by a steel roof to protect it from August rains and October heat.
The workshop’s rawness is unabashed, but very reminiscent of so many shops I’ve worked in. Still, its lack of equipment caught me off guard. For a production metal shop, it seems impossible that they could do what they do with the tools they have. There is a simple stick arc welder; two disc grinders lying on the ground in the red dust; the work surfaces are homemade steel tables with handmade forming jigs that look more like Tony Smith sculptures. If there was ever an antidote for the saying “the right tool for the right job,” this was it.
I had sent Salam a few sketches a couple of weeks earlier, and also brought a simple model. I was introduced to the shop’s foreman and the three fabricators. English is my only language, but l am a good reader of people, and can usually keep track of conversations based on mannerisms and tone of voice. This is surprisingly useful when working in Dakar. Salam who was raised there, but now lives in Italy, speaks French, Italian, and Wolof, the national language of Senegal. I don’t have an ear for language and learned very little Wolof. But certain words were so ubiquitous and recognizable they couldn’t be missed. Waaw, pronounced “wow,” was one of those words. Whenever someone was speaking, the person listening would continually pepper the conversation with waaw, which means “yes” in the local dialect. I couldn’t help but feel the optimism with which people approached the unpredictability of their day to day.
I put the model down, and we all talked at each other for a half an hour. At one point one of the workers left and started bending tubing around one of the forms attached to a table. I soon realized he was interpreting the model; it was immediately recognizable. Each piece of tubing was completely formed by eye, edited by trimming the length with one of the disc grinders. Looking at the model, and communicating as best we could, he managed to recreate at full scale a prototype of the chair frame. We tested how it felt to sit in by laying a piece of sheet metal across the frame. We all took a turn and agreed that it was worth completing. Developing the weaving happened just as fast. Patterns and colors were woven and undone, the weavers patient in interpreting my vision. After a round of late-afternoon coffee, served hot and sweet, and the hypnotic echoes of evening prayer, the first version of the chair was complete.
This is how product development continued in our subsequent visits to Senegal over the course of a year. What came out of those raw but surprisingly efficient trips is the Waaw Collection. I am proud to bring this work to New York and to have had the opportunity to work with Salam and his team.
– David, May 2017