Erected in the mid-19th century on the island of Mahé, Mercury House was rebuilt half a century later for the world’s then largest telecoms company. The project celebrates both contemporary Creole architecture and Victorian steelwork — with its original Lanarkshire imprints.
The design features simple motifs, inspired by the area’s traditional airbricks. It is a clarified, cohesive space. A terrazzo concourse links staircase and lobby. An atrium, punched through the first floor, breaks the deep plan and ties in the two levels. Exposed columns create a rhythm that is picked up with panelling throughout. Muted on lower levels, materials and colours lighten as you ascend to the bright roof canopy. Consultants: Atom structural engineers, Proburo MEP engineers, Syntax lighting, Mike Scott/MGS, Nigel Roucou quantity surveying Contractor: Green Island Construction.
Who are the clients and what's interesting about them?
The client was a developer group in Seychelles who went on to build another 2 venues with Studio Ageli - they were model clients insofar as they allowed the practice design freedom and trusted the practice to make some bold moves.
How is the project unique?
This is a historic building for the Seychelles and the the region insofar as it housed one of the world's first and once largest telecoms company - as with many buildings in the Seychelles and due to the tropical climate, parts of it had been refurbished over the years such as the roof material (from grass to corrugated steel) but the structure remained in tact.
What building methods were used?
Interesting building methods include: in situ terrazzo on walls, floors and stairs; a moulded GRP plaster ceiling in the entrance lobby; and laser cut steel balustrades.
What was the brief?
Overhaul and reinvent an existing and dilapidated 19th century building to a vibrant speculative hospitality space on 2 levels.
What were the key challenges?
The existing structure and rabbit warren like layout provided us with the greatest challenge which then proved to be the greatest strength when the original steelwork was exposed and put on show.
What were the solutions?
One of the key solutions was punching a hole through the first floor to create an atrium - this opened the building up and gave it height and depth so it no longer felt claustrophobic.