Usitu Day Bed
Usitu Daybed- an interpretation of the Swahili day bed
The Usitu Day Bed
100cm by 208cm by 81cm
Made from Mvule Hardwood
Photos by Justin Chula
Video by Jemima Bornman and Moran Munyuthe
The Swahili daybed is a ubiquitous furniture item in the Kenyan coast in Lamu. Ideal for lazy afternoon naps under a shade, it is a necessary item in most households. Saba Furniture Co. took the task of re-interpreting the Swahili daybed using the same materials and manufacturing processes employed by Swahili carpenters.
Manufactured in Lamu island, an archipelago located on the northern end of Kenya’s coast. The Usitu daybed draws on elements of Swahili Architecture such as the mashirbirya screen - a wood lattice screen that is used to shade the interior of buildings and decorate the exterior. In the Usitu daybed this architectural feature is interpreted to fit a domestic object.
Made from local Mvule wood by Swahili carpenters, it is a symphony of solid and void, light and shadow, integrating itself into its immediate environment. The minimal, stripped back structure of the Usitu daybed is intended to frame the handcrafted patterns and highlight the extra-ordinary craftsmanship of the Swahili carpenters. The bed rest is made from a palm woven rope known locally as Usitu. It's woven in a herringbone to create a comfortable tensile structure to rest on.
The Usitu day bed is a versatile piece, entirely flatpack, it's design is modern yet stylistically is representative of the context it was manufactured in. This merging of the modern and the antiquated creates a piece that feels strangely familiar.