Kusheda Mensah is an incredible furniture designer who joined Peckham Levels little over a year ago, where she set up her studio for Modular by Mensah. We asked Kusheda about her biggest achievements so far and what advice she’d have for young designers.
The furniture you design is beautiful and has had some great alcaldes, what would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
I think I have two. One was having my furniture on Oxford Street. My furniture made it to the new flagship Adidas store, it was great to feel as though my work and vision was valued. The second is small but major to me. I was asked to lead a workshop for young adults from low income backgrounds at the V&A. I got them to think about how design can change your everyday in a small way which in turn, can change lives. It felt amazing teaching and expanding the minds of young people and encouraging them that they could do anything. I myself was in the position of these young people, so I knew how important it was to hear that. The best part was they invited me to lead another workshop because the young people enjoyed it so much.
Would you say your Ghanaian heritage, influences your work, and if so, in what ways?
Yes I am Ghanaian. Well, part of being Ghanaian is of course all the great things that make up my culture, and textiles is one of them. From an early age my mum would collect fabrics for parties, funerals etc so I got to learn a lot about patterns and the symbolisms. Then I actually went onto studying surface design at LCC and specialised in printed textiles design, which led me to do what I’m doing now so I guess that’s how much it influenced me.
What is your favourite thing about working in the design industry?
How imaginative people are, and how beautifully things can be made on a small budget.
What words of advice would you give young black designers who are taking the next step into the industry?
Do lots of research on what fields you can explore within the design industry. That’s what I did. I do furniture design which is basically product design, but there are plenty of jobs at length that you can make pretty penny. There are plenty of other ways to be a part of the design process i.e rendering services, VR etc. And if you are a designer like me… go for it!
And the most important thing, don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t! You can actually do anything, because you can. Period.
Is there anything you are currently working on that we should keep an eye out for?
I am working on a new collection so that’s exciting. I also have a project that’s coming out with Clarks and Apartmento ‘the everyday life interiors magazine’ next week so watch out for that.