In early 2020, Grammy winner Burna Boy had just moved into a seven-bedroom home nestled onto a bucolic estate in Lagos—Nigeria’s creative and commercial capital. His architect, Akose Enebeli, had constructed the two-story Lekki house in which Burna could simply be himself.
But the story of this home, and how it came to be, goes back to 2017, when Enebeli was in the middle of building a 10-bedroom mansion for former Manchester United striker Jude Ighalo, and got a call from an unknown number. Burna’s manager—and mom—Bose Ogulu, was on the other line. She had seen the unfinished residence and decided to cold-call the architect. Flash forward not too much further in the future, and Burna, a superstar Nigerian singer, songwriter, and rapper with multiple homes around the world, was happily “mind blown” when he saw Enebeli’s designs for his own new abode. “He just kept saying ‘wow, wow you’re bursting my brain,’” Enebeli tells AD. Overall, the architect loved the experience of turning an empty housing lot into a spectacular residence, all while getting an enthusiastic thumbs up from his famous client. “This is. . . where I can create,” Burna, whose given name is Damini Ogulu, tells AD. “This is where I made my Grammy album.”
In bustling Lagos, a megacity of 20 million residents, Enebeli’s creation is a serene 13,000-square-foot oasis. The colossal structure has a calming beige and gray façade, complete with all the hallmarks of contemporary luxury living. Inside, it boasts high ceilings, a private cinema, lounges, and a game room. There’s also plenty of garage space and tall windows.
Enebeli and his colleagues made sure to optimize for natural light in the 3,700-square-foot structure, which is divided into two distinct parts. One area houses a recording studio, gym, and bedrooms for guest artists. The other is a more intimate area for Burna. It’s where he entertains his closest friends and where his own primary bedroom suite and private terrace are situated.
The downstairs rooms make for a continuous, free-flowing area, with one interior leading right into the next—sans doors. Of particular note is the main living room, which leads to a massive window overlooking the tended gardens. Overall, the compound evokes the serenity of the lagoons, creeks, and the greenery of the Port Harcourt region, some 384 miles away in Nigeria’s Rivers State, where Burna was born. “I’ve got a lot of Rivers stuff, water sounds,” Burna says. “[It’s] just really water-inspired. It’s peaceful. Nature speaks to me.”
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One water-focused request proved particularly challenging for Enebeli and his team at elArc Designs to execute: Burna wanted a swimming pool that started inside the building and then drained outside. In order to make good on the concept, Enebeli built part of the living room so that it would float over the blue-tile pool with a built-in bar. “You have the view from the main living room through the glass, you see the swimming pool, you see the sunken lounge, and you see the large garden,” the architect says. “So you have an outdoor experience, even when you’re indoors.”
As pleasing as the outdoor areas m
ay be, when guests come over to visit they often end up in the vinyl room. It includes a record player and hundreds of records, many of which were gifted to Burna Boy by his grandfather, the famed cultural critic Benson Idonije. Friends listen to classics by Ebenezer Obey, Bob Marley, and Chris Okotie. Burna says it’s a joy to host there because he’s often traveling. Indeed, just this past August, he performed at a sold-out London concert at The O2 arena. Far from home, yes, but not for too long.