A unique retail experience was inaugurated during Diarrablu’s flagship launch party in Dakar, Senegal this April 2019 at the Eden Garden complex; a 6000 square foot luxury complex featuring a state of the art spa, hammam and luxury beauty salon.
The experiential retail space, called a MATH LAB aims to merge the designer’s worlds to create a sartorial intersection of Mathematics, Design, Fashion and Art.
DIARRABLU is high contemporary lifestyle brand founded by Diarra Bousso, a creative mathematician, educator, multidisciplinary artist and serial entrepreneur born in Senegal and based in Silicon Valley. The brand’s mission is to iterate for sustainability while highlighting the African continent’s rich colors and unique patterns through practical and versatile pieces designed using mathematical concepts or algorithms.
SS19 ARTISANS AND ALGORITHMS
The brand opened its first flagship location while presenting its SS19 collection titled NDAR through a museum style exhibition highlighting the brand’s values focused on sustainability, wanderlust, tradition and algorithms.
Ndar is the Wolof name of the historic island of Saint Louis in the northwest coast of the designer’s native Senegal. To create the main Ndar print, Math equations are digitally generated, graphed and hand-painted on with touches of oranges, turquoise blues and monochromes, inspired by Ndar’s vibrant architecture. The resulting abstract pattern is printed on crepe and chiffon fabrics. This collection celebrates Ndar’s oxymoronic fusions between savanna and desert, ocean and river and tradition and modernity while paying homage to the Ndar woman, quintessence of Senegalese elegance and effortlessness.
The pieces, as per the brand’s ethos are versatile, convertible and consciously designed with Mathematics and handcrafted in Senegal with love.
THE MATH LAB
“I want my first flagship to include all the elements that create meaning for me and that I translate into my brand. I live in the classroom which represents my mental gallery, lab, exploratorium and museum. I strive to merge the worlds of Math, Art, Teaching, Design and Learning. I want people to feel the texture of my equations, understand the history of my traditions and celebrate my rich African cultural heritage consciously.” says Diarra.
The space features a Math coloring station allowing guests to directly interact with the math equations and create their own prints. This lab setup highlights the designer’s vision that everyone is an artist and design opportunities become endless when mathematics is involved.
“We wanted to give another image of a lab and open the minds on how people could experiment math differently.”
A blu fitting room was created and signature blu cocktails engineered as every little detail was consciously designed to make the visitors travel in the designer’s imaginary world: a creative and colorful math laboratory.
The space also features the paintings created by Diarra herself, whose artwork is strongly influenced by the work of Pablo Picasso and the contemporary Senegalese painter Viye Diba who both played a strong influence in Diarra’s interest with drawing and painting since the age of 5. Some of Diarra’s most recent artwork is algorithmically designed and influenced by her experience with creative Mathematics at Stanford University. Prints are created with the graphing of linear, absolute value and quadratic equations for contemporary abstract art that stand out whether framed on a wall or printed on a kimono.
AN ETHOS ROOTED IN ITERATION
The characteristic spirit of Diarrablu is in creating sustainable designs, that once purchased can be worn in several ways for a prolonged life cycle. The idea of iteration, a math concept focused on repeating the same process over and over ad infinitum making incremental changes each time, is a core characteristic of the brand. Through the exhibition, guests travel through an iterative museum and discover how iterative processes intersect with the brand’s values .
Ultimately, this permanent flagship location represents an intertemporal voyage rooted in the brand’s ethos. Whether it is iterating for sustainability to prolong garments’ life cycle, iterating to travel better through convertible designs, iterating with mathematics to create endlessly or iterating to revisit the past through ancient African traditions from Diarra’s artisan family heritage.