Making his Milan debut, the British-Ghanaian designer Giles Tettey Nartey is using the commission as an opportunity to explore culture, culinary tradition, and the rituals of domestic life in Ghana. 

Created from maple, which is dense and durable, Communion is a table designed for the making of fufu – a West African staple food, which is made by pounding cassava into a dough. Nartey’s table reimagines this practice as a communal performance, in which everyone comes together in the shared act of making food.

His design features an outer table equipped with dents, grooves, bowls, and bumps to enhance the preparation and cooking process, while a central table is dedicated to serving and communal dining. Included within the design are mortars (woduro) and pestles (woma) for grinding cassava, along with seating inspired by both traditional Ashanti stools and typical kitchen stools found in Ghana. 

Through its form, Communion aims to elevate the act of pounding cassava to the level of performance, one person pounding, another turning the mixture in an almost choreographed fusion of movement and sound that is akin to dance.

Communion focuses on the rituals that bring to life the objects in our homes, presenting them not just as lifeless items filling our spaces but as artefacts rich with emotional and spiritual meaning, animated through our daily routines. For me it’s also a question of functionality, and whose functionality we admire and give space to. The piece celebrates a practice that is so local to West Africa presented in a new way which gives emphasis to the ‘communal’ by allowing multiple people to participate in the process of making fufu. The everyday local ritual is therefore transformed into performance, exposing the beauty I have always seen in everyday Ghanaian life.” – Giles Tettey Nartey, creative