This week, the Black Artists + Designers Guild unveiled the OBSIDIAN Virtual Concept House, a futuristic home curated by 23 Black creatives that is set in the Oakland Hills in the year 2025. Presented through the form of the most innovative virtual experience, OBSIDIAN is guided by the belief that Black futures are equitable, sustainable and liberatory. The architecture of the west facing structure, was designed in collaboration by Nina Cooke John of Studio Cooke John and Leyden Lewis, reflecting both of their historical roots, current family structures and personal approaches to design, while addressing sustainable building practices and Passive House standards.

For the entire month of February, BADG will host the OBSIDIAN experience featuring a series of live discussions that focus on the role sustainability, technology and culture will shape the future home for Black families. “OBSIDIAN is our legacy project. We aim to reach one million Black Families across the globe.” shares Malene Barnett, founder of BADG and 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.”

As the regional media sponsor of this revolutionary movement, we are happy to share a peek inside the OBSIDIAN house that is on display HERE for the month of February.

The Barka Dai: ‘An Abundance of Welcome’ by Cheryl Umbles Interior Design“As people of the African diaspora, our heritage has always been about opening our hearts and home to others. Providing an ‘Abundance of Welcome’ comes easy to us as a people, so come on in. As a designer and homeowner, I love the emotional anticipation that family and friends experience when you first open your front door, and the person on the other side cannot wait to cross the threshold. Elements in this space combine for creature comforts in an architectural seating design that demands effortless social distancing and ambiance for winding down from the drive over. At this point, you can sit back and just breathe, or pass through, but not without pausing to take something mindful with you.”

Djembe Room by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design – “Vast, with views of the sprawling Oakland Hills, the Living Room at the OBSIDIAN is about celebration and connection; to our heritage, to our successes, to our many talents and our creativity, to our joy, to our rhythm, to our struggle and pain, to our complexity and diversity, to our love of Mother Earth. Blackness can be found in every corner of this room. The design strives to represent all of us. Past, present, and future. I am very function-forward, so my first thoughts were to maximize the seating of the room, while still allowing the occupants to be open to the views, the fireplace, and to each other. At the same time, I kept in mind that when large family groups do come together, they often break out into smaller sub-groups to have more intimate experiences. Whether that be playing dominos, listening to the wisdom of elders, enjoying music, or just celebrating various milestones and accomplishments, it was crucial to create a space where the family could all just truly… BE.”

The Soul Center and Family Foyer by Joy Street Design “While the kitchen is the heart of the home, it will become less of a visual workhorse but rather a smooth blend with the rest of the house in the future. Designed to focus on the history and culture of Black Americans, the soul center of the house will feature bold colors, references to hip-hop, and sculptural elements that will encourage the inhabitants to lounge as much as any other part of the house. The kitchen also includes a separate butler/pantry area with other innovative ideas including a rotating and weighted pantry and dumbwaiter system that enables groceries to pass through a UV-C cabinet, which kills all germs and microbes before having the items arrive in the pantry. This kitchen is sophisticated, sexy and functional.”

The Umoja Room by Lisa Turner of Interior Obsession – “I designed this room to blend heritage and art into a homogenous whole. The perfect family room for the modern African-American family starts with traditional values. The design is a multi-use space for the family to gather, hang out, and play. This key room is a communal space used by multiple occupants whether it be for a night of TV, a round of homework, a family piano recital, or some musical entertainment. Great care was given to functionality and décor.”

The Harmony Room by Laura Hodges Studio- “I designed this space to showcase the importance of community and shared cultural experience while incorporating a healthy and sustainable environment. The Dining Room is a vibrant space where family and friends gather to share a culinary experience together. Designed to host family meals, casual breakfast/lunch at the bar, small dinner parties, and large catered gatherings, the concept is centered around a large mural inspired by BADG artist, Glenyse Thompson. Thompson’s mural, which is based on one of her smaller works, sets the tone for the space and is both bold and graceful at once. A custom-designed dining table in white oak with a white-painted geometric base plays with both form and shape while anchoring the room’s open space. I designed the freestanding, built-in benches to encourage communal gathering, with vegan cork leather upholstery and ebonized reclaimed oak seats. The form of the custom-designed counter stools was inspired by the shape of stacked African necklaces, while the low seating could be tucked away to allow for an unobstructed view of the landscape.”

The Legacy Wall by Malene Barnett“The Sankofa-Legacy Wall is a metaphor to our ingenuity, strength and perseverance. Regardless of systemic structures, Black families continue to stay grounded in culture, spirit and gratitude. The walls at Obsidian honor our ancestors, serves as a tool for Black liberation, and also possesses healing properties. Within the tradition with African symbolism, the wall evokes Sankofa, the Adinkra concept meaning, ‘go back and get it.’ This is a necessary mindset to reclaim our Black identity and greatness. These walls send daily affirmations of self love and inspire ways to be an active member of the community.”

The Analogue Vestibule by Everick Brown of Everick Brown Design My vision was to create a transformative space to ‘Think Play Gather’ as an epicenter for connection, interaction, and grounding. Everick Brown Design is a proud participant of the Black Artist + Designers Guild innovative Obsidian Concept House where we are charged with designing a personal space expressly for the Black family. Our vision, a transformative space called, ‘Think Play Gather’ is an epicenter for connection, interaction, and grounding. An analog room bereft of electronics, but rich in technology and history. A place where mementos, family pictures, music and books not only remind you of home, they define it.”

The Sanctuary by Cheryl R. Riley – “I was instantly drawn to this space which is separate from the main house because of it’s designation. I lived in San Francisco from 1977 to 1999, a time when meditation, investigations of the spiritualities of ancient or contemporary world cultures and mind/body awareness were very much a part of our lifestyles. My first action upon viewing the plan was to transform the original configuration from a square to a circle. Not only was a circle more aligned with my concepts for the space, it also responded to the shape of the Ohlone peoples’ huts. The Muwekma Ohlone were the original inhabitants of what is Northern California whose lands include the Oakland Hills, the site of our project. Their conical-shaped abodes also guided the contour of the building.”

The Wellness Suite by Kīyonda Powell of Kīyonda Powell Design Studio – “My design takes its cues from nature, inspired by the shapes, textures and rich hues all found in its beauty. In a home, every space has a function and purpose for living and doing. I selected the wellness suite in the Obsidian House to include a home gym, relaxation room with a bathroom with a bonus steam shower. I want to create a place to decompress as well as be inspired. I call it Natural Wonder. The Wellness Suite. Imagine a place where after the activity of the day, you can renew your individuality. A space to be intimately safe within your mind and body while enjoying the balance and synergy of a contemporary space with bespoke design. This suite is designed for a single Black female in her mid 40s. She is an entrepreneur who runs a consultant firm and is constantly on the go, but makes sure to carve out time for her self care practices. She loves pilates, yoga and barre to stay fit. She prefers classroom setting for her workout routines but in the COVID era feels more comfortable doing her practice at home and utilizes technology to create her own version of a class setting or one-on-one personal training.”

The Royal Bedroom Oasis by Marie Burgos of Marie Burgos Design – “My inspiration came from my Caribbean heritage. The idea was to retrace our diaspora as a global multicultural experience through time from the indigenous, the aborigines, the Africans and the Caribbean Indians. The Royal Bedroom Oasis is the Main bedroom Suite of the Obsidian House. It is designed for a couple in their 30’s to 60’s (Generation X and Y) currently professionals, head of family and who are well educated and well traveled. The suite layout includes an inviting entrance, a luxurious sleeping area paired with a lounging space and a mini bar. It also has a fashionable walk-in closet. The entire bedroom space opens itself to a generous terrace and sunroom combination, providing nourishing natural light and amazing views of the Obsidian property.”

The Room of Requirement by Leyden Lewis of Leyden Lewis Design Studio“This is a place within the home where one’s vitals and all necessary preventative and maintenance of health can be assessed, planned for and addressed at light speed and a touch. This room is designed with gold as its core featured material. The warmth and light of this material is an ancient birthright of Black people. The warm characteristic of gold pairs with the room’s functions on many levels. First to privately and intimately engage virtually with your medical and healing practitioners. A place where within the home one’s vitals and all necessary preventative and maintenance of health can be assessed, planned for and addressed at light speed and a touch. The technology of robotic arms with customized attachments and functionality permits and encourages access to touch from massage to acupuncture, recreated touch from memory, and to explore touch as self-pleasure allowing relaxation and escape into an immersive physical space of self awareness and the exploration of our own body.”

The Shaman’s Chambers by Sheryl T. McLean of McLean and Tircuit – “My inspiration comes from the love of my many travels when I would wake up to the excitement of a whole new world and experience all of its grandeur. This holistic space is an expression of the African Diaspora in combination with modern day design and materials, advancing technology and tribal remembrances. My intent was to create a personal refuge that promotes healing, dreaming and relaxing; a place where you could wake up on the beaches of the Seychelle Islands in East Africa or on the bedrocks of the rushing waters in Zimbabwe or even in the mix of the New York City skyline. The featured e-book wall (a patent for this technology was recently filed by Google) allows you to experience the virtual reality of visiting your distant homeland or any of your favorite destinations. Like the shaman, the e-book wall acts as the dreamcatcher providing protection from nightmares and allowing you to be in touch with your ancestral and guardian spirits.”

The Artist Studios & Garden -” I am Good Enough” – A Haven for the Black by Linda Allen of Linda Allen Designs – “I wanted to design around a subject matter that is a generational mindset; the mental journey of a Black overachiever reaching for success, which transcends time. Education is one of the ways our ancestors pulled through slavery and gave us opportunities to make a difference in today’s world, which will continue with future generations. I call my spaces “I am Good Enough” – The Artist Studios and Gardens. These are nurturing areas for an artist who learns about herself through the stories and wisdom of jewelry making and beads, as well as the healing energy of stones. I added therapeutic design elements and custom details in these spaces that relieves the artist of academic and mental pressures to create a legacy. The artist studio and gardens were created similar to how an artist creates their art – speaking in raw truths, with messages within my designs that can nurture and inspire. I feel that emotional design expression is where the future can go in Virtual design; healing spaces that help us become our better selves, and give us permission to be authentic.”

Escape by Lynai Jones of Mitchell Black – “My challenge was to design a visually striking space that functions best when the design elements disappear into darkness. The cinema located on the ground floor near the wine room and bar, serves as a respite from everyday life. The luxuriously appointed, heavily textured space, creates an atmosphere of extreme comfort to promote stillness and allow the visual entertainment to have a strong impact on the viewer’s senses. My challenge was to design a visually striking space that functions best, when the design elements disappear into darkness.”

The Mancala Lounge by Nikki Klugh of Nikki Klugh Design Group “The lounge for the Obsidian Concept Home will be an outdoor respite that caters to both serenity and excitement. Combining elements of fire, water, and an abundance of sustainable natural features this space will be soothing for the individual looking to mediate or enjoy a glass of wine. Equally so, the lounge will be accented by bold, rich colors, gaming stations making it a place ideal for large family gatherings to enjoy family activities or simply converse fireside on cool Northern Californian evenings.”

The Divai (The Wine Room) by Penny Francis & Casi St. Julian of Eclectic Home – “We wanted to design this room for a family who appreciates the region and the wine that it creates. To achieve a successful space, we wanted to make sure the Wine Room exudes a sense of power with richness in it’s layering of materials and tones of color. Imagery from the mood board showcases inspiration from African Hausa architecture, fluidity/futurism of modern-day fashion (Iris Van Herpen), natural materials such as hand painted ceramics, and inspiration from original empowering artwork by artists such as Toyin Odutola. Artwork featured in the wine room is by BADG member Dave McClinton. All imagery combined successfully showcases not only Black beauty and well -crafted artisanship, but the Black experience and empowerment it bestows on all who enter the space.”

Solare (Brewery) by Cornelius Tulloch “I was inspired by the markets of Jamaica, in particular the temporality of the structures and frames that vendors use to sell their items. The Lumination of “Solare” transports family members and guests to a space for relaxation, exploration, and creation. The Brewery is a space that services multiple members of the family at different times of the day. This space serves as a threshold between the house and the car garage. It sees the circulation of the home as people come and go from the home, it is a space to prepare for your day and decompress at the end of it. With calming light glowing from the polycarbonate and wood cabinetry the industrial materials of Brewery are complemented by these light and natural Palettes.”

Suspended Lanai (Mezzanine Terrace) by BOA of OI Studio “The pandemic has forever altered our work life, so I wanted to incorporate a comfortable space to work outdoors. I chose this space because I’ve never had the opportunity to design outdoor furniture, and I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could improve on the products that are currently on the market. My aim was to create a multifunctional space for working, lounging, and entertaining while still retaining my minimalist design approach. The pandemic has forever altered our work life so I wanted to incorporate a comfortable space to work outdoors. I’ve always wanted to try hydroponic farming, not only for its sustainable properties but also because it allows growers to produce food anywhere in the world, at any time of the year, and to net higher yields with fewer resources. It was definitely a no-brainer to include this concept in the space. My main design inspiration definitely comes from nature, specifically the horizon of the Caribbean Sea. I like linear, clean horizontal planes in nature and I incorporate that shape into my designs.”

The Atlantic (Lounge/Cook/Terrace + Wade/Swim/Water) by Anishka Clarke and Niya Bascom of Ishka Designs – “The Atlantic is designed as a green space with drought tolerance, fire resistance, health & wellness, and functionality in mind. Historically, BIPOC cultures sustain their environments and cultures by adapting methodologies that are inherently resourceful and necessary. We carry that ideology into our design solution for The Atlantic, through our choice of materials, furnishings, and plantings. These elements not only take into consideration the environment, but also are inspired by our deep heritage and ancient cultures. Looking back to look forward: there is no future without these persistent methodologies, and our space is a reflection of that. Part of the beauty of Obsidian’s architecture is the fluidity of “rooms” and their connectedness to the outdoors. We chose the pool and pool deck because it is the one area that is connected to almost all of the architecture: the main level, upper levels, and the pool house. Our goal was to manifest a space that at once connects, compliments, but wouldn’t detract. The organic,fluid movement of our design connects the very angular main building to the oval pool house, while allowing the curves and greenery to soften the edges. We kept the design modern and minimal, but familiar, in keeping with an Ishka Designs’ aesthetic.”

Moon House (Rest/Lounge/Cook/Clean/Wash) by Cristina Casañas-Judd & General Judd of Me and General Design – “We aimed to create living and breathing elements by utilizing materials, textures, and patterns to evoke rest, wellness, and reflection. Our design intent for the Pool House is to weave the past into the future. We aimed to create living and breathing elements by utilizing materials, textures, and patterns to evoke rest, wellness, and reflection. We envisioned the dwellers of the pool house as the parents of the female head of the main household. The grandmother is a certified naturopathic physician and midwife and has taught the past 2 generations on herbalism and home birth. The space could also be occupied by family and friends on an extended stay or in need of quarantine/recovery from COVID when the grandparents are away in Chile at their beach home.”

To experience the entire home tour or RSVP for a talk, please visit;