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The most gorgeous face mask of the year celebrates African design

Millimeters-thick sheets of delicately etched bronze. Pleated, laser-cut coral collars. This isn’t haute couture, though it could be. These are face masks.

Nigeria-based architectural designer Tosin Oshinowo and U.K.-based textile designer Chrissa Amuah have created three gorgeous face masks, called Freedom to Move, commissioned by Lexus, which is an official automotive partner of the annual Design Miami show. The brief asked them to create a “design object of our times,” and what’s more fitting than a mask for 2020?

The masks are designed to celebrate African design and history through a contemporary lens by fusing traditional African craftsmanship such as brass and bronze casting with contemporary innovations, such as 3D printing.

Face masks have been important utilitarian devices this year, but they’ve also been ripe for creative experimentation. There have been futuristic face shieldsHigh-fashion visors from Louis Vuitton. Seemingly NASA-ready clear helmets. And now gorgeous sculptures. As the designers say, “if we must wear masks, let them be spectacular.”

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