Tosin Oshinowo is a registered Architect in Federal Republic of Nigeria and also a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects. She has been lead Architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A) since 2012. cmD+A is an architecture design consultancy practice based in Lagos and is best known for the Maryland Mall, which opened in June 2016.
She is quite spirited about architectural history and socially responsive approaches in architecture design and urbanism. Her written work includes an article on ‘the reclamation of public space in Lagos’, which was published in October 2012. She also started a column in 2017 for Omneka Online titled the Afromodernist: Identity, Architecture & Sexuality, a bimonthly article exploring cultural issues to do with African Identity in a modern context.
In 2017, she created Ilé-Ilà, which means House of Lines in her Yoruba native language. It is a Lifestyle Furniture line designed and handmade in Lagos, Nigeria. The brand focuses on period-conscious furniture in a contemporary African content. As an Architect, she has a natural afﬁnity towards Product Design. She is particularly interested in the functionality of chairs, but also placing them in a Nigerian-African context. Unlike her minimalist approach to Architecture, which often uses a mute palette, her furniture design aesthetic is a bright explosion of colour. Ile-Ila retails international under 54Kibo.com in the United States and 1stdibs.com in the United Kingdom.
In the same year, she was nominated for the EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards for Entrepreneur of the year and also received a recognition from Leading Ladies Africa as one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria. She has also won the 3rd City People Real Estate Awards for Architect of the Year 2017 and in January 2018 she joined the Board for The Lagos Theatre Festival with the British Council.
Seasoned architectural professional, entrepreneur and mom of one, Tosin Oshinowo takes our Lady boss Questionnaire.
What does Entrepreneurship mean to you?
It is a fulfilling 24-7 existence, with the opportunity to be the captain of your own ship, while effecting change hopefully for the betterment of many more people than just yourself.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…?
As I am a registered Architect, so I am a professional first before an entrepreneur. If I had been content in my employment role, I probably would still be in employment as an Architect and steadily risen in the company. The fact that I made the decision to leave means that now as a entrepreneur, I have the flexibility to explore other opportunities outside of my core profession. However, I have stayed within the realm of strength being creativity; through the Arts and Product design.
If you could have a lunch date with one Lady Boss you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?
I would love to sit with Mrs Ibukun Awosika. I admire her because she has excelled in both corporate and entrepreneurial worlds. In particular, being a woman and achieving more importantly, at the time when she did. It is a lot easier now as there is a global ethical push towards celebrating women. I would love to pick her brain on the challenges she faced and how she overcame them.
3 book recommendations for entrepreneurs?
I am not big on motivational books but I do believe in learning from other people’s experiences and from historical content. I would advise for reading: Becoming by Michelle Obama, Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga and The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
The social media platform that has helped your business the most is?
Instagram instagram instagram. I think what is important is having ‘content of value’. As what we do ultimately is very visual, the opportunity to have a visual connection with our audience and potential clients is priceless and not just to connect to them but for them to have the immediacy to connect with us.