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The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) recently revealed its month-long digital initiative “OBSIDIAN EXPERIENCE,” which highlights ideas of shared dreams and ancestral futures within the imagined OBSIDIAN Virtual Concept House. This exploration of the creative expressions of Black family life is encompassed in virtual dwellings by 25 creators and a program of live discussions meant to foster conversations surrounding the idea of the home as a place for Black families to thrive.
"OBSIDIAN is our legacy project. We aim to reach one million Black Families across the globe," said Malene Barnett, founder of BADG and a BADG Creator. "Through this project we are addressing decades of environmental injustice and offering creators an opportunity to share their ingenuity and Afri-centric perspectives on the home."
Launched in partnership with ELLE Decor, House Beautiful, Town & Country, and Hearst Magazine’s VERANDA, the OBSIDIAN Virtual Concept House is a domestic space conceived in the Oakland Hills of California, in the year 2025. Utilizing state-of-the-art virtual technology and visuals, BADG has invited twenty-three of its creative members and two chosen emerging creatives, Marlon J. Davis and Cornelius Tulloch, to design these spaces based on their personal experiences of home and four main areas of focus: technology, innovation, futurism, and sustainability.
With each space conceived as a portion of the futuristic virtual home, “OBSIDIAN EXPERIENCE” features beautifully rendered interiors and landscaping developed using ideas from seven fundamentals—wellness, identity, sustenance, terra, legacy, ancestral futures, and dwelling—which aid in portraying the many sides of Black family identities.
"The Black Artists + Designers Guild is changing the narrative on defining spaces in the home,” said Everick Brown, a BADG-Creator and Obsidian committee member. "Throughout the pandemic, we saw how defined spaces were being used for multiple and unexpected activities. Rooms in Obsidian are defined by their spirit rather than their purpose: bathrooms are designated as ‘Cleanse,’ living rooms as ‘Gather,’ and the kitchen as ‘Soul Center.’”
Accessible through BADG’s website, virtual visitors will find the experience including spaces like Leyden Lewis’s The Room of Requirement (a space with industrial details reminiscent of a spa treatment room), Cheryl R. Riley’s surrealist, all-encompassing Sanctuary room, Marie Burgos Design’s glassed-in The Royal Bedroom Oasis, and a vast common space with intricate contemporary details by Revamp Interior Design in Djembe Room. Other featured designers include names like OI Studio, Ishka Design, Everick Brown Design, Linda Allen Designs, Nikki Klugh Design Group, and McLean and Tircuit.