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Student hits a high note as idea for mobile nightclub in Nairobi wins £50,000 international prize

Words:
Stephen Cousins

Sustainable scheme by Brighton University undergraduate Jesse Mugambi features repurposed shipping containers and renewable materials

Jeese Mugambi's Studio Can V project is a mobile sound studio for DJ's that turns into a nightclub by night- all made out of shipping containers
Jeese Mugambi's Studio Can V project is a mobile sound studio for DJ's that turns into a nightclub by night- all made out of shipping containers Credit: Jesse Mugambi

Next time you’re out clubbing with pals and ‘throwing some shapes’ on the dance floor think of Brighton University student Jesse Mugambi, whose competition-winning design for a sustainable mobile music studio and nightclub is about to transform young peoples’ lives in his native Kenya.

Mugambi’s ‘Studio Can-V’ project beat over 300 submissions from 50 countries to be named joint-winner of Jägermeister’s #SaveThe Night competition, which supports nightlife projects around the world.

Now a Master’s student in sustainable design, Mugambi developed the project during his time as an undergraduate. It comprises a mobile sound studio made from discarded shipping containers, which transforms from a daytime hub for young DJs into a club at night.

Built by local artisans in Nairobi, the centre will function as a platform to help artists on the local music scene break into new markets, with scope to scale up across Africa.

Kenya boasts some of the greatest artists and DJs in Africa – check out the likes of Big Nyagz, Euggy, and Suraj if you’re interested – and local venues are needed to help new talents explore their musical potential. The music studio will provide a safe and conducive environment for learning and practice that's accessible to anyone interested in music-making, not just learners.

  • Jesse Mugambi is studying for a Masters in Sustainable Design at Brighton
    Jesse Mugambi is studying for a Masters in Sustainable Design at Brighton Credit: Jesse Mugambi
  • Mugambi is a DJ himself
    Mugambi is a DJ himself Credit: Jesse Mugambi
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Mugambi, who is also a DJ himself, said: The profound impact of music on urban development, construction and governance cannot be overstated. With the music industry continually growing, it is imperative to explore innovative avenues through which the younger generation can unite and establish a lasting presence on the global music stage.

In line with a mission to bring groovy tunes to obscure locations,  the studio’s mobility will make Kenyan nightlife more inclusive by bringing music close to where people live.

Shipping containers will be procured from Mombasa port and renewable materials, such as glass for roof panels, steel tubes for structural support, and aluminium panels for the doors, will come from local suppliers in Nairobi.

We are collaborating with lecturers at the University of Brighton to ensure that our plans are developed sustainably, both socially and architecturally, said Mugambi.

And there’s no danger of Jesse’s £50,000 prize money being spent on Jägerbombs either. Instead it will be more profitably used to cover the cost of sourcing materials, labour, music equipment for the studio and other logistical costs.

I aim to invest the funds wisely and strategically, allocating it all to ensure that this project can scale up and maintain longevity well beyond its current scope, Mugambi concludes.

 

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