Will Alsop’s first Africa-based project to feature jellybean-inspired monorail and piano-key staircase

British architect Will Alsop – who recently passed away – is set to have his first – and only – project in the continent of Africa, realised in Nairobi, Kenya.

The shopping mall, called The Beacon, has all the elements of a signature Alsop project: colourful, playful, and inclusive of whimsical details such as a jellybean-inspired monorail and a piano staircase.

All Design has won the planning permission to realise the project, which is the first project revealed by Alsop’s firm since his passing.

The open-air shopping centre will be located in central Nairobi, containing 24,300m2 of retail and food & beverage space, in addition to a rooftop garden and bar.

Designed around the theme of a sweet factory, it coincides with the architect’s principle that architecture should always be fun.

A monochrome facade is contrasted by a large accordion-shaped red box while the inside of the complex features fairground rides; with walkways shaded using fabric canopies. The design also includes a thatched roof.

“The Beacon is intended to bring delight to locals and tourists,” said a release from the architects. “The vivid colours and striking patterns of the facade will hint at the amusements and leisure facilities inside.”

The project is developed by London-and Nairobi-based firm Kiloran – and will also include a seven-storey office tower alongside the retail development.

“We were intrigued by Kiloran’s ideas for this mall in Nairobi and were pleased to be able create an open-air mall with a focus on sustainability, fun and family which we believe to be key drivers on future international mall design,” said Marcos Rosello, co-founder of All Design.


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