Photos by L’Équipée and Supply Unica
Lilo and Gus Chaumont are a mother and daughter team, and the founders behind L’Équipée, a design studio based in Nairobi with Parisian roots. Their philosophy of design is to create ceramics and furniture that embody the unique character and vibrancy of Nairobi paired with the the aesthetics of Paris. They collaborate with over nineteen local artisans in Kenya to produce work that is displayed in both Africa and Europe.
L’Équipée expresses the idea that “every piece is designed through long and captivating conversations between the craftsmen and the designers. The end result is a family of furniture that just like us, are from neither one place or another.”
Caillou, or pebble, is the name given to the mug inspired by its namesake, and is created in partnership with the artisans of Kazuri Beads. These mugs come in a dozen color schemes, in two styles: dotted, and speckled.
Read more about the ceramic artisans of Kazuri Beads here!
L’Équipée is built on collaboration. Lilo and Gus manifest their designs with local artisans in the form of eclectic furniture, ceramics for the home, and unique hand-blown glassware with Kitengela Glass. Kitengela is a hot glass studio in Nairobi that specializes in the creation of blown vessels, chandeliers, lamps, beads, and architectural materials from glass that is recycled from empty bottles and broken windows. L’Équipée is committed to developing their collaborations and forming new ones in a manner that is beneficial to everyone involved, ensuring fair compensation and flexible schedules.
The mother-daughter duo have made a home base in Nairobi, and are excited by the unexpected. “Because there are no common standards, each object is unique, irreplaceable and often shown off like a trophy...in Nairobi, shapes, colors and the impact of the product seem to be a priority, while technical concerns are secondary. L’Équipée tries to find a balance between European design, which is calibrated and rigorous, and Nairobi's magnified aesthetics.”
L’Équipée utilizes local materials and techniques, sourcing and crafting all of their products in Kenya. The studio chooses their materials with a sustainable mindset, and they have commited to upcycling whenever possible. Fabrics for upholstered pieces are gathered from the local secondhand market, Toi’s, where there are myriad abandoned clothing items, velvet curtains, and antique kangas - colorful multi-purpose pieces of cloth decorated with Swahili motifs, and often worn as a headscarf or skirt.
The Long Spoons, a line of handmade brass and ceramic spoons by L’Équipée, feature a Kazuri bead accent, and a body made from brass that is recycled from old taps and padlocks, melted and formed in a local artisan workshop. L’Équipée believes “each item, with its own character, brings spontaneity in the way we produce objects and pride to those who create them: craftsmen and designers.”