The ManCrib – A Private Nook for Open Plan Spaces

Small Space, Big Style: A sleeping nook for guests.
Traditional West African sleeping mats as room dividers create distinct, comfortable spaces.

Between 2012-14, AfriMod team members made several trips to West Africa to build connections with artists, designers and craft-makers. The Wuse II neighborhood of Abuja, Nigeria was our home-base and to accommodate team members as well as guests, we had to be creative to make our rental space work.

Relying on natural textures, we incorporated woven reed matting into the interior design plan. These integrated seamlessly into the Africa-inspired and global modern style we sought for our living flex spaces.

Our need for additional private sleeping spaces for guests led to the evolution of the ManCrib.

Working with local carpenters, we framed large traditional sleeping mats (made from interwoven reeds) to create room dividers that were subsequently used to define distinct functional spaces.

These room dividers especially came in handy when we needed to create a sleeping space within the living room. We fastened a couple of the dividers to the head and sideboard of a bed and placed it against a wall.

An additional divider functioned as a movable enclosure, which when positioned created a cozy, sleeping nook akin to a crib, hence the ManCrib.

These dividers were configured in such a way as to provide privacy for guests, yet allowing for connections to the rest of the space.

In this project, we achieved an oasis in the living room… a small nook for guests to rest, sleep and read. The weave of the reed mats allowed diffused light to filter through, creating a comfortable ambiance.

Above, a room divider provides a natural, textured backdrop to a Regency chair reupholstered with local handmade batik fabric. A handwoven grass floor mat adds color and pattern, while a Nupe stool from the village of Giri, just outside of Abuja, functions as a low side table.

These, and most mats, are often woven by rural farmers after the crop harvest. Obtained from Gombe, (to the North-East of Abuja), these mats are actually traditional sleeping mats that, without the wood frames, easily roll-up for storage or transportation.

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