Meet The 23 Designers Behind The Obsidian Virtual Concept House

Black Artist + Designers Guild (BADG) announces the twenty-three creators and their design spaces for their inaugural incubator project Obsidian Virtual Concept House, an expansive vision of living and dwelling for Black families. Obsidian Virtual Concept House will launch as a partnership between ELLE Decor, House Beautiful, Town & Country and VERANDA, Hearst Magazine’s Luxury & Design Collection.

Participating creators and BADG members include b-framework, Cheryl R. Riley, Cheryl Umbles Interior Design, Eclectic Home, Everick Brown Design, Interior Obsession, Ishka Designs, Laura Hodges Studio, Leyden Lewis Design Studio, LH.Designs, Linda Allen Designs, Joy Street Design, Kiyonda Powell Design Studio, Malene Barnett, Marie Burgos Design, McLean and Tircuit, Me and General Design, Mitchell Black, Nikki Klugh Design Group, OI Studio, Revamp Interior Design, Shakoor Interiors, and Studio Cooke John.

“Obsidian’s objectives and goals resonate with us on both a design and self-exploratory level, says ELLE Decor A-Listers Anishka Clarke & Niya Bascom of Ishka Designs. “We felt the need to participate in order to challenge ourselves to explore deeper into who we are and how our ancestry, ethnicity, and history influences how we think, create, and live. Niya and I share a similar diaspora experience and we use this inherent and endemic knowledge in Ishka Designs’ practice. Obsidian has helped to heighten that approach further.”

Leyden Lewis of Leyden Lewis Design Studio and Nina Cooke John of Studio Cooke John designed the dwelling’s architecture. “The house is imagined and placed in the Oakland Hills of California in the year 2025. The west-facing structures frame and curate the light and views of the San Francisco Bay. While mindful of the rich, Black cultural identity linked to Oakland, the design is also mindful of the traditional practices of the indigenous people of the Bay Area, the Ohlone,” says Leyden Lewis. Nina Cooke adds, “We researched sustainable building practices including geothermal heating, solar energy harvesting, rain-water harvesting, and passive-house systems.”

BADG is partnering with California Home+Design as their regional media partner. “Myself and the team at California Home+Design are honored to be a part of the Obsidian virtual house concept as we want Black excellence to be given a larger platform in the art, architecture and design communities,” shares Lindsey Shook, the brand’s Editorial and Brand Director.” We will remain committed to the BADG’s on-going efforts to create more opportunities that will further the message of Black empowerment through action.”

Obsidian is not a showhouse but rather a concept house by creators designed as the anchor family dwelling presenting the possibilities of utilizing cutting edge smart-home technology integrated with advanced sustainable systems and practices. The creators interpreted their spaces using contemporary and cultural elements while embracing a multiplicity of Black family identities while permitting dignified individual expressions of the household. Black design choices have authority, power, sophistication, mystery, stability, and strength. Obsidian is a manifestation of where these choices may lead.

Kelly Finley of Oakland, California based design firm, Joy Street Design, adds, “Obsidian is an opportunity to deeply explore design ideas from the Black diaspora and challenge the status quo that typically caters to others. It’s easy to lose oneself in the onslaught of sameness in traditional media. My participation in Obsidian allows an exploration of my identity as a Black person AND a luxury designer who loves color, technology, and personality. This experience allows me to think about how to curate elements of my Black culture, history, and ancestry with forward-thinking elements and ideas. Designing in this way has been rewarding and has had a lasting effect on my overall design philosophy.”

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