Kunlé Adeyemi’s Floating Music Hub kicks off the party in Cape Verde

Kunlé Adeyemi’s Floating Music Hub kicks off the party in Cape Verde

The Floating Music Hub in Cape Verde, by NLÉ, opens to the public offering a cultural venue like no other

Kunlé Adeyemi’s Floating Music Hub in Cape Verde has just opened its doors to the public. Designed by the architect and his Amsterdam and Lagos based studio, NLÉ, the project has been one of the West African region’s most highly anticipated cultural projects – also scooping the top spot in the Best Music Venue category in the 2021 Wallpaper* Design Awards.

This island nation has a rich cultural heritage, and it is exactly this that the project, a collaboration between Adeyemi and Mali-born sustainable solutions pioneer Samba Bathily, was designed to celebrate. ‘[Bathily] wanted to do something with music in Mindelo and create a recording studio there,’ Adeyemi told us in early 2021, when the project won the Wallpaper* gong. ‘So we expanded the idea to a floating hub to be part of the narrative of this port city, as Cape Verde was historically one of the last points of departure from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade, leading to the births of great new genres of music. It tells a story about that journey and a history of African people and their diaspora.’

close up of Floating Music Hub in Cape Verde
Photography: NLÉ

Using his Makoko Floating System (MFS), a prefabricated, modular, A-frame, sustainable timber structure that was first realised in 2012 as the Makoko Floating School in Lagos, the architect created a family of pavilions that float just off the shore in Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente. The project’s four elements, a small, medium and large wing, connected by a central triangular plaza that links to dry land, can hold about 300 people. Facilities include a performance space, a bar and canteen, and a recording studio to cater to a variety of needs. The complex is made of sapele hardwood, cleverly combined with stainless steel and aluminium to help the hub withstand the harsh ocean conditions. 

Open to all now, to attend musical festivities, book for private events or just go to experience its scenery, views and hospitality offering, the Floating Music Hub is ready to take bookings. ‘It’s a way to expand Cape Verde’s cultural impact, create a platform for local musicians, and bring international artists to record and co-create,’ Adeyemi said. §

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