Arijiju is a highly curated and bespoke crafted luxury private home and commercial retreat in a Euro-African aesthetic sensibility nestled in the Laikipia valley with vast views of majestic Mount Kenya. The client, a private individual, sought to create a private home with only 10 weeks occupancy for external guests throughout the year in the Borana Conservancy area to ensure the protection of this incredible piece of wilderness and the endangered wildlife it contains – amongst them black and white rhino, reticulated giraffe, Grant’s gazelles, oryx, lion, cheetah, fish eagles and other indigenous flora and fauna.The centre point of this would be Arijiju, an elegant home with green roofs, nestled snugly into the tiered hills and in an almost Wabi aesthetic of monastic simplicity and muted tones. This remarkable property, called ‘The Most Beautiful House in Africa’ by Senior Editor Peter Browne of Conde Nast Traveller UK, has 5 voluminous suites with fireplaces, outdoor living areas, a great room, lounge bar, cinema lounge, study, hammam, spa villa, gentlemen’s gym and yoga platform. All are rendered and appointed by LIFE in a signature palette drawn from nature, with ‘colori morbidi’ and textures in high contrast of rusticity and refinement, contemporary and heritage at once.Aesthetically, LIFE designed the property in an Afro-European style to reflect the client’s London-Lagosian origins. The brief was to be subtle, unobtrusive on the landscape, environmentally sustainable through the best use of monolithic, monastic materials that would age elegantly in nature, where the passage of time and the vagaries of the bush would only serve to enhance the aesthetic appeal of walls, floors, furnishings, finishes. To this end, LIFE’s designers created a number of bespoke hand-crafted collections, numbered and limited-edition with a selected group of artisan craftsmen in over 9 countries and sourced from over 12 others from Morocco to India, France to South Africa, Italy to Kenya, ancient and contemporary which were crafted into what is now the signature Arijiju style.
Arijiju is unexpected in that other lodges in Kenya – or even within the plethora of product in the African continent – either sit in the strictly traditional or the coolly contemporary aesthetic; this property fuses both in a sophisticated synthesis of styles. It feels neither too big, nor too small, neither too modern nor too traditional. It is simple, but soulful. What strikes the visitor to Arijiju is the soulful serenity of space but also the subtle flow of everything in that everything feels as if it belongs. As if it’s been there forever.