Babacar Niang, the owner of Nulangee Studio, sadly died of a long illness in April 2015 just when his first important show in London with 50Golborne was prepared in the gallery. Babacar created the Nulangee design studio in 2004 in Rustique, a suburb of Dakar the capital of Senegal. A sculptor by training Babacar Niang decided to use his skills and rich imagination to create furniture and objects from his favourite material: wood.
Aware of the deforestation that is happening on the African continent in general and in Senegal in particular, he set himself the rule to use only discarded wood: wood remaining after forest fire or human use- mostly for cooking. Wood is still widely used for this purpose in the area
around Dakar where the suburb is growing everyday because of a huge exodus from countryside.
As in many contemporary practices in West Africa, Babacar Niang set up his own sourcing methods and own network, employing the children from the community kids unemployed adults to pick up material in the informal areas around Rustique and the close countryside. The wood he used for the furniture is an extraordinarily hardwood which is a local kind of ebony. The construction of the object is always related to the shapes of the pieces of wood that had been collected and how they can be slightly bent with natural heat and fire process. Then Babacar Niang‘s fecund imagination and virtuoso understanding of human physiology came into play. The result is the ‘Vertebrae’ chairs that have become his trademark works; always unique pieces, but all coherent with one another and their formidable rapport to the human body.
Sculptor - or designer? Solving a functionality problem within his own set of rules was a good game for Mr Niang. His strange and strong ‘creatures’ stripped down to bare expressive bones - are examples of sculptural for
ms of high quality, even while being useable as furniture. His free spirit gives him the latitude to go into the unknown and to experiment as a true artist.
Vertebrae 2, Chair, 2015 | Hard wood - Unique, stamped