Nairobi Design Week (NDW) 2016 focused on celebrating the vibrant community of artisans and craftworkers in Nairobi, known locally as “jua kali workers.” The festival aimed to connect these artisans to a wider market and showcase how artisanry has evolved to complement today’s design culture, experiencing a global renaissance in handmade craftsmanship.

Dates: November 3, 2016 – November 12, 2016


  • University of Nairobi (School of Art & Design): The festival featured an event called “All aboard the Design Matatu,” which aimed to improve the experience of riding in matatus, a popular form of public transportation in Kenya.
  • Creatives Garage: NDW hosted Mugendi M’Rithaa, the president emeritus of the World Design Organization, who introduced the festival. Visitors enjoyed an evening with designers, interacted with creatives, and lit by Sun King lamps.
  • Tujenge na solar: A social media campaign and competition initiated by Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) called “Tujenge na solar” (Let’s build with solar) aimed to empower the Mathare community by assisting in the effective utilization of the Mathare Undugu community school.
  • Crafted 3 ways: The festival showcased artisans who create products from bone and horn, recycled tires, and brass, highlighting their creativity and innovation.
  • Design Market: Hosted by Creatives Garage, the market featured furniture, jewelry, 3D printing, solar lamps, and even motorbikes, raising awareness of design’s breadth and elevating it in the public’s eye.
  • The Solar Residency: NDW hosted students from De Montfort University, UK, to help design and market solar lighting products, providing them with a flavor of the creative and business opportunities in Kenya.
  • Artisan & Fox: Artisan and Fox shared the stories behind products created by artisans, providing economic opportunities to underprivileged artisans by bringing local micro-enterprises and community groups online.


See Also

  • Adrian Jankowiak (Director)
  • Rina Waligo (NDW Manager)
  • Michael Bagorogoza (Brand Manager)
  • Fredrick Bary (Event Coordinator)
  • Kevin Ouru (Event Organizer)
  • Julita Bhagat (NDW Assistant)
  • Don Adero (Volunteer)

Artisans and Exhibitors: The festival featured a diverse range of artisans and exhibitors, including Aleutia, Amani Infinite, Archidatum, Cave, Craft Africa, Creatives Garage, Design Without Borders, Diana Opoti PR, Dictum, Docubox, Evelyn, FAFA, funky industries, GoDown Arts Centre, GoodLife, GreenChar, iHub, Kenya Bamboo Centre, Kibo, KikoRomeo, Kipato Unbranded, KnownAfrique, Kounkuey Design Initiative, Kuona Trust, KUWA, Ma3route, Matwana, Moringa School, PAWA254, Ramara, ShopSoko, Stonehouse Ltd, Thinkplace, and Tosh.

Nairobi Design Week 2016 was a testament to the creativity, innovation, and community spirit of Nairobi’s artisans and startups, showcasing their talent and contributions to the design landscape.