The Proposed Aso-Oke Pavilion by Toluwalase Rufai Celebrates How the Traditional Yoruba Fabric is Made

The Aso-Oke Pavilion is a proposed temporal architecture installation inspired by the process of making Aso-Oke and a desire to share this knowledge with the larger community.

Designed by Nigerian Architect Toluwalase Rufai, the pavilion is an interactive space crafted to engage and educate the public on the production of the traditional, hand-loomed fabric, birthed by the Yoruba culture in South-West Nigeria. Aso-oke goes beyond just being a fabric, but serves as a cultural vessel through which Yoruba people express themselves creatively. The weaving method with which it is created allows for various patterns and colors. The fabric is usually used to commemorate occasions such as weddings and funerals and has, over time, become an asset passed down from generation to generation. Modern furniture such as the Ile Ila brand of chairs by Tosin Oshinowo also make use of the fabric in a more contemporary manner.

With the Aso-Oke Paviion, Mr.Rufai seeks to attach “memories to space”, and has to designed it be an activation of sorts for the Costain round in Ebute Metta, the largest round about park in Lagos. The round about sits adjacent from another cultural icon, which is the National Arts Theatre, and as such the design of the pavilion pays homage to the theatre, by way of its form and structure.

The Aso-Oke pavilion is designed to be modular in nature, comprising 16 pods made out of wood members braced with steel plates. These pods are intended for 16 individuals to participate in the experience of creating their own unique fabric, an experience would come after a brief tutorial from skilled operators.

“Blending the art and the audience into one” is one of the intents of the design for the Aso-Oke pavilion asides from the enhancement of the public space itself. This fusion would see that those who engage with the pavilion feel more in tune with the process and more a part of the dialogue between the installation and our history as well as our culture.