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Seilern 'positive' about Nigerian market after key win

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The head of Studio Seilern Architects has hailed the ‘sophistication’ of the Nigerian market after the practice secured its first scheme in the country

Christina Seilern, who founded the firm in 2005 after eight years at Rafael Vinoly Architects, said Nigeria offered exciting opportunities.

London-based Studio Seilern saw off competition from US and local practices to win the $19million (£12million) mixed-use Banana Island scheme in Lagos.

It is also working on the early stages of a large single residence on a remote beache an hour from Lagos.

Seilern told AJ the ambitions of developers in the West African country had come as a pleasant surprise.

‘The energy and sophistication of clients is obvious,’ she said. ‘These are people with vision, with an interest in achieving quality.

‘The response to our first trip was incredibly positive. It is a very strong economy, led by a group of well educated people who have attended European universities and returned to Nigeria.’

It is important to approach overseas projects with an understanding of the local culture

She said bringing a Nigerian architect into the London office had been a key factor in winning the Banana Island scheme.

‘It is important to approach overseas projects with an understanding of the local culture. You can globalise all you want but there will always be strong local components.’

Studio Seilern has also worked in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Ghana within Africa, and intends to continue competing for projects in the continent.

The 6,100m² Banana Island scheme includes ‘boutique’ office space as well as four apartments sharing a gym, swimming pool, and leisure facilities.

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