VENTURES AFRICA – More than a decade of intensive real estate activity in Kenya has generated a deep class of seasoned professionals, as is now being demonstrated by Nairobi’s first high-rise apartments, Le’ Mac, designed by a Kenyan architects, and fully conceptualised by local designers.
The high-rise, with duel plumbing, biometric entry, a 5 star rooftop 360 degree restaurant, and East Africa’s highest panoramic swimming pool with views across the entire city, has been inspired by the world’s finest buildings, in a drive to deliver a new quality of accommodation to the city’s urban chic.
“Intense research, and a creative, talented and flexible team of professionals has been the key to conceiving and designing Le’ Mac as a whole next level in Kenyan real estate,” said Mr. Ravi Vasta at the Hilton Hotel Nairobi during the official launch of the 22 story high-rise development now being built in Westlands.
“Memorable architecture is the product of collaboration and innovation. We needed visionaries who would bring a new skill set to be used not only during construction, but also in the years after to be able to maintain it,” said Mr. Vasta, the Director of Mark Properties, the developers of Le’ Mac.
For this reason and in line with a 2000 research which found that silhouette drawings of high-rises were related to pleasure and psychological stimulation in viewers and that high-rise buildings influence residents’ moods, thinking, and imagination, the real estate developer sponsored a trip for its lead architect Sylvia Kassanga and Tony Kimanzi to the UAE where they visited Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Fujira, some of the leading architectural cities in the world, to share with them what they envisioned for the project.
“It’s when we were at the right outside the Dubai Mall watching the dancing fountain in Burj Khalifa Lake, that I had my aha! moment” said Sylvia Kassanga of Sycum Solutions, the lead architect of the project.
“I knew then that we would have a building with a curved facade made out of glass and aluminium,” she said.
Six months of intense research and 60 days of continuous work later, an inspired Sylvia presented Mark Properties a design for Le’ Mac. Excited by the presentation, Mark Properties then sought a group of consultants, including a structural, electrical, service engineer, as well as interior designers that would provide the quality of services required for the building.
“Our interiors are an urban spin giving an urban crisp and clean design that maximises on space even as it focuses on the views of the city,” said Suzanne Watts of Studio62 the interior designers of Le Mac. “The process also requires that we get the function right in the aesthetic process.”
It took one year to finalize the plans, which are in line with Vision 2030’s requirements for high quality urban accommodation on the basis of current demographic trends that suggest Kenya will be a predominantly urban country by 2030 with more than half of the nation’s population set to be residing in urban areas by then.
“Le’ Mac is the result of team work across professionals who have worked unstintingly to ensure the success of the project,” said Ms. Kassanga.
Aware that the construction of Le’ Mac is a challenge even for the most experienced developers in the market, Mark Properties has also engaged 6 construction specialists who have done extensive work in Dubai and Seychelles.
“Our specialists will be working closely with the consultants while at the same time imparting knowledge on construction,” said Mr. Vasta.
The project, which started 4 years ago when Mark Properties purchased a 1.32 acres plot in Westlands, is emerging as the product of intense research, and openness to new ideas and creativity, to create a landmark design that when complete will put Kenya on the real estate map.
The 3.5 billion shillings ($41 million) development is the third real estate project by Mark Properties after Mac Gardens and Mac Apartments, and is expected to be completed in late 2015. Launched in 2004, Mark Properties is quickly curving a niche for itself in the luxury accommodation market with its previous projects Mac Apartments having been sold out by completion in 2008.