The Lantern house was designed for a Lagosian family on Banana Island, in Lagos, a private island on the Lagos Lagoon off the shore of the historic Ikoyi neighbourhood. The five-bedroom, seven-bathroom 911sqm house is a self-contained oasis and emblematic of Tosin Oshinowo’s signature afrominimilist style, with clean, crisp lines, an integration of sophisticated geometric patterning to emphasize depth, texture, and materiality, and playful use of light to create a glow of warmth in the interior and exterior of the home.
This is the practice’s first project on Banana Island, which is an exclusive area and home to many of the city’s elite. This man-made island has the highest real estate in Nigeria and has a sophisticated infrastructure of water, power, and drainage systems. The home itself also utilized smart technology and was built both with leading technology and climate-specific decisions in producing shade, cross-ventilation, and local materials to ensure the home is sustainable and climate-sensitive.
The client’s brief was to design a five-ensuite bedroom smart sustainability-conscious home with two living rooms, a study, a swimming pool, support services and grounds for entertaining on two-thirds of a standard plot. The land opens up to the east, and as such, the home was designed for all rooms to be oriented to receive east-facing natural light, which is essential to the function of the home. The gentle proliferation of natural light, augmented by the high ceilings and tall windows, makes the space feel bigger, airier, and more dynamic. The open-plan living with lines of sight throughout the programmed spaces on the ground floor also enables a free-flowing, open, and comfortable space for the family to convene and interact, with an easy flow to the outdoor living space and pool, enabling a seamless flow between the indoor and outdoor spaces of the home that is a key benefit of Lagos’s tropical climate.
The house also has layers of increased privacy as you move vertically upwards through the property, similar to the cultural requirements of a traditional Yoruba household setting and essential to multigenerational living. In keeping with this need for privacy and separate living spaces in some regions of the house, the master bedroom suite also incorporates a 58 sqm walk-in wardrobe with two skylights that throw natural light into the space. Another essential feature is the double helical staircase that runs through the building.
The house’s interior design, managed directly by the client, who has an interior design practice locally in Lagos, contrasts the minimal gestures of the architecture with a more maximalist aesthetic, integrating bold colors and patterns as well as bronze relief artworks from prominent Nigerian artists. As with the family area of the ground floor, the upper floors also maximize the potential for a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces, with an intimate patio on the top floor adjacent to the master suite.
The exterior of the building includes solid structural walls and glass, with patterned steel screening to create the impression of a solid and porous structure all at once. During the day, the interiors are filled with natural light, while the sun reflects and highlights the patterned screen. At night, the interior glows outwards through the patterned screens, creating a lantern effect.
Architects: cmDesign Atelier
Area: 911 m²
Manufacturers: ACL homemart, Aplus Nigeria, EBM Nigeria, Interstyle Nigeria, Luadi Porte, Spotlight International, Waste To Biotech
Lead Architect: Tosin Oshinowo
Structural Engineering: Starkwood Associates
Services Engineering: Topklan Engineering Services
Interior Designers: Seven, Six & Ten Interiors
Landscape: cmDesign Atelier
Main Contractor: Bulwark Construction
Design Team: Nneka Igboh, Efemena Egube, Peter Ifeanyi, Moyinoluwa Senjobi, Margeret Udonsak
Audio Visual Consultant: Triangle Audiovisual