Ulwazi Place Hotel

Image Three Sixty Designs used pops of color and various textures to tie together the elements at Ulwazi Place Hotel, a boutique experience for guests visiting Nairobi.

  • area / size 26,372 sqft
  • Year 2021
  • Location Nairobi, Kenya,
  • Type Hotel,
  • The African Population and Health Research Center is Africa’s premier research institution and think tank, generating evidence to drive policy action to improve the health and wellbeing of African people.

    “Ulwazi Place” a boutique hotel, whose name is derived from the Zulu word for “knowledge” was built to serve the training and accommodation needs of researchers from across the entire continent.

    In a bid to hold true to APHRC’s spirit of championing the African continent, Image 360 Designs (Kenya) centered the interior design narrative on showcasing the culture and traditions of the four biomes of Africa: Savanna, Tropics, Desert and Coast through a design theme dubbed “Tembea Africa” which translated in Swahili means “Travel across Africa”. This ensures that researchers who may be lost to their surroundings due to the nature of their work, constantly celebrate the continent they serve and work for.

    The guest experience throughout the boutique hotel is a rich and authentic journey across these four biomes within a contemporary setting. The color palettes, materials and textures selected on each floor represent one of these themes. In tandem with the selected African landscape, accessories were sourced from local artisans from the specific regions.

    Savanna grasslands are represented by a pastel palette ranging from straw and taupe with hints of sage. The fertile and forested Tropics are manifested by the forest greens, charcoal, moss, and cedar shades. African deserts are depicted by ochre, red, saffron, and tan colors while a combination of ocean, teal, ivory, and turquoise schemes portray the beautiful Coastal areas.

    The sisal ceiling in the reception lounge was handcrafted by local Kenyan artisans. Intricately woven raffia and banana fiber baskets with striking patterns from Rwandese and Ugandan craftsmen adorn the walls in the reception and guestrooms. Oversized wicker pendants create just the right touch of “drama” in the reception and restaurant. A hand-stitched cowhide wall provides a stunning backdrop to the booth seating while the occasional furniture is decked with mudcloth scatter cushions creating an appreciation for the ornately patterned traditional Malian fabric.

    Design: Image Three Sixty Designs
    Photography: Mutahi Chiira