DESIGN AFRICA

Whether it’s a showstopping art installation, interiors overhaul or pace-setting new build, we want to see the designs changing the look of modern Africa.

Voting closes 31 March

THE SHORTLIST

ANDBEYOND
ANDBEYOND MATETSI RIVER LODGE

Returning to Zimbabwe after five years, andBeyond oversaw the USD 10 million rebuild of Matetsi River Lodge. Situated on a private wildlife concession on the Zambezi River, only 40km from Victoria Falls, the lodge combines clean and modern design with an understanding of its natural and cultural setting. The design draws from the local traditions of fishing and basket weaving – traditional mokoros form a swinging curtain at the lodge entrance, while local baskets are displayed everywhere. Striking interiors feature distinctive artworks by Zimbabwean-born painter Helen Teede. A strong copper theme pays homage to the region’s mineral riches, from copper drums in the boma to pots and pans in the interactive kitchen and a bar clad in copper that mimics the design of fish scales.

The lodge is designed around the river setting, with open-air dining and guest areas flowing onto the river’s banks and suites spread out along the riverbed, offering private plunge pools that look out onto tranquil river waters. Outside the gym, a lap pool mirrors the contours of the river bed, while the massage sala offers open-air treatments with a view. Nature is everywhere, from the simple reed ceilings of the guest suites to the glass coffee tables that double as showcases for driftwood, nests, rocks, pods and other natural objects. Personal touches abound, with the childhood toys of owner John Gardener used to decorate the elegant wine cellar. The lodge’s past hasn’t been neglected, with new buildings carefully overlaid on the skeleton of the old.

ELEWANA
LOISABA TENTED CAMP

Loisaba Conservancy and the original lodge was burnt in a dramatic bush fire in 2013. With its future uncertain, The Nature Conservancy stepped in and helped broker a sale that saw Loisaba purchased by the Loisaba Community Trust – ensuring that the survival of the conservancy, the wildlife and the livelihoods of community who depended on it. Requiring an accommodation offering suitable of its incredible location, Loisaba Tented Camp was created on the site of the old lodge. With commanding views across the Laikipia landscape all the way to Mt Kenya, an accommodation that embraces and enhances the incredible vista was required – and this is what was achieved. Everything about the camp, from the bright and airy tents with floor-to-ceiling windows, the wide decked verandah and open-fronted tents of the main guest area, and two infinity pools that seemingly blend into the distant horizon, captures and heightens the experience of the Loisaba panorama.

The trade and press have been abuzz with news of Loisaba Tented Camp, with this sophisticated and picturesque accommodation topping many “Best” and “Bucket Lists” in 2016 to today.

THE LATITUDE HOTELS
LATITUDE 13, LILONGWE 7 THE OTHER SIDE

Having established Kaya Mawa as a much lauded slice of freshwater beach luxury James Lightfoot, Nick Brown and their team decided to shake up the African urban market and cut a swath through the tired and formulaic offerings available to travelers North of the Limpopo. Opening Lilongwe’s new Latitude 13 boutique hotel (2016) and The Other Side in Lusaka (2016) They have added Private Members clubs and workspaces to both hotels preaching the mantra of Work Stay Play with offices and meeting spaces, gyms, spa, pools, restaurants and bars designed with a keen architectural eye and decorated to die for with sumptuous and quirky interiors, bespoke furnishings and original art for Africa. We distill the best of each host country’s personality and artisanal character and combine it with trending and timeless international design to create a rich palate of experiences providing functional practicality whilst encouraging the whimsical, satisfying all the senses and celebrating style. We do this working hand in hand with two socially responsible workshops. One on Likoma Island Malawi – Katundu Textiles – set up to empower single, widowed and orphaned women. Beaded textiles, iron work, sea glass and recycled copper meld together to create bespoke screens, chandeliers and interior fittings. Lightfoot Zambia work in leathers, wood, horn and textiles, supporting local communities and schools. Designs include leather, feathers, beads and metals to create luxurious furniture, cushions and lighting. We engage with local artists and artisans filling spaces with eclectic art collections. We build beautiful and delightful spaces. We nurture our staff to nurture our guests. We offer up to you what we would most wish to receive. A hug for your mind and body.

THE OCEAN SPA LODGE
THE SPA 7 WATER WELLNESS CIRCUIT

The SPA study started back in 2012, by the ideas of a Kenyan design company, led by an Italian architectural-engineer, expert in eco-friendly and environmentally-oriented constructions. The project aimed to integrate the wild nature of the pristine Msambweni and the infinite views of the Ocean, together with the need of creating a space that inspires cleanliness, purity, essential design, and everything that a modern SPA has to have to compete in terms of aesthetics and technology, without compromising on a true African and Kenyan chic touch. All the art pieces are hand-made by a local artist utilising types of wood which are typical from the coast: the headed masks and giant sea shells with coconut wood, the reception desk (recycled from a tree that fell in front of the beach due to sea water erosion) and the rooftop structure of braided poles with casuarina wood. The majority of the furniture, including the relaxing beds, the woven straw chairs and baskets, are made in-house by local artisans.

The location and the design perfectly integrate natural light and sea breeze in the buildings, a system that naturally allows to illuminate the ambience and cool down the temperature, without utilising artificial lighting or A/C (only used within the treatment rooms to let the therapists to operate in full comfort). The SPA facilities include treatments rooms, Fitness & Yoga Studio, Water Wellness Circuit, with Rain Forest Emotional Showers, Hydro-Massage Pool and Dr. Kneipp Corridors Circuit, the very first of its kind in East Africa.

THE ROYAL PORTFOLIO
THE SILO HOTEL

We wanted to open a truly unique hotel that would become an icon of the Cape Town skyline and with the goal of becoming the best hotel in the world. Something different. Not just for Cape Town, but a destination hotel in its own right. A modern hotel that would complete The Royal Portfolio’s circuit of luxury South African travel experiences. The objective was to transform the historic grain silo building (originally built in 1921) into an architectural masterpiece. Heatherwick Studio was tasked with the transformation of the elevator house and the adjacent storage annex of six rows of seven silos into a luxury hotel above a contemporary art museum while carefully retaining its cultural and industrial significance. The design would incorporate two key architectural features – the grain shaped atrium carved out of the grain silos themselves and the pillowed glass windows that would adorn the façade of the hotel.

The Silo Hotel has been built in the grain elevator portion of the grain silo complex occupying six floors above what will become the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). The Silo Hotel is a magical space towering above the V&A Waterfront surrounded by the natural wonder of South Africa’s Mother City – the panoramic views of Cape Town are unsurpassed. Liz Biden’s exquisite interiors contrast the stark industrial nature of the building in their playful use of colour, fabrics and textures. The result is a building with historic, cultural, architectural and design significance. A pioneering development in luxury travel.

Voting closes 31 March

THE CATEGORIES

  • Awards - Conserve Africa
  • Awards - Design Africa
  • Awards - Engage Africa
  • Awards - Experience Africa
  • Awards - Rise Africa
  • Awards - Shape Africa
  • Awards - Support Africa

PREVIOUS WINNERS

African Bush Camps - Rebuilding Somalisa

AFRICAN BUSH CAMPS – REBUILDING SOMALISA

The Design of Somalisa Camp has included 180 degree open views of the floodplain in front of the camp, as well as larger open space to allow guests to feel at one with nature. In addiiton, our sewerage purity systems from Germany allow for 80% of the water used in our camp to be recycled back for wildlife drinking usage. We have also implemented a full solar farm for the camp which means we will no longer require the usage of diesel generated power and will be off the grid in terms of unnatural energy usage. Our Rebuild has included innovative ways in which to have a lighter carbon footprint and allow our guests to feel at one with nature.

SHORTLISTED

  • ANGAMA MARA – ANGAMA MARA
  • Bushtops Camps – Roving Bushtops
  • Leeu House – Leeu House
  • The Manta Underwater Room – The Manta Underwater Room

awards_sandibe

ANDBEYOND – SANDIBE OKAVANGO SAFARI LODGE

Extensively rebuilt and reopened in September 2014, andBeyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge combines a modern design with an exceptional sense of place to redefine safari chic. The lodge’s structure is inspired by weaver birds’ nests and the pangolin’s body armour of scales, with the curvilinear shapes of the woven nests and the overlapping scales of the pangolin influencing its form and construction. The building’s skeleton is clad in a wooden skin of shingles and timber. Guests enter the lodge between segments of shingled skin, reaching a terrace above ground level. The boma is formed from huge logs of descending size that mimic the tailbones of the pangolin. The colour palette is copper and wood, highlighting regional handicrafts with huge baskets, woven carpets that mimic the pattern on the underneath of a water lily and an immense dining table made from the root of an ironwood tree. Guest suites are raised above the papyrus like nests and boast accent pieces like a crocodile-embossed leather sofa. The overall feeling is woody and ethereal, with bright copper highlights. In winter, the suites are warmed by a wood-burning fireplace. Sandibe has been designed with a focus on sustainability and the lodge’s combined solar electricity and solar hot water systems produce more than 200 000 Kwh of energy per year.

SHORTLISTED