Close up photo of Jesse wearing sunglasses

Life at Brighton for prize winning Sustainable Design MA student

Huge congratulations to Sustainable Design MA student Jesse Mugambi, one of two winners of Jägermeister’s #SaveThe Night global competition, which supports nightlife projects around the world. Jesse’s prize is €50,000 to build a music studio and nightclub from decommissioned shipping containers in his native Kenya.

Find out more about Jesse and his time at Brighton in conversation with us here, and discover more about his prize winning project in this post.

What did you study as a first degree?
Architecture BA (Hons) at University of Brighton (2020)

Tell us about your project
My concept is Studio Can-V, a portable space that serves as a studio for musicians to practice and a venue for people to discover new artists. Constructed from a repurposed shipping container and utilising local vernacular design, we aim to foreground contemporary Kenyan identities to create a versatile space that transitions from a daytime hub for young DJs and to a night time club for adult audiences. Studio Can-V centres inclusivity by foregrounding the voices of young DJs from various communities and backgrounds, who represent the future of an equal society. It will help build relationships across the industry and create new gateways for those yet to break into the sector. By empowering local artisans and promoting youth cultural identities, we seek to reclaim our future through music, dance, and connection. Leveraging the global reach of Kenyan artists, it is not only a physical space but a platform for artists to break into new markets, with the scope of scaling up across Africa.

What do you hope to achieve with his project?
My goal is to create spaces that nurture the growth of the music industry in Kenya. Having faced challenges in pursuing my own passion for music when I was younger, I’m driven by the belief that there are countless young and old people longing for opportunities to explore their musical itch. I aspire to create those spaces where they can really explore their creativity and pursue their musical dreams without constraint.

What have you learnt through this experience?
This project has been a journey spanning for about 4 years, from the name creation to its recent recognition. It’s been an interesting process, merging my passions for architecture, sustainable design, and music into one vision. throughout that time, I’ve received massive support from friends, and mentors, and university professors who’ve helped shape the project’s trajectory. Sustainability isn’t just about the physical aspects; it’s also about fostering social impact, a lesson I’ve learned and integrated into my work. While the project isn’t perfect, it’s a testament to the collaborative effort and the ongoing journey toward improvement. There’s still much to do, and I’m excited to continue this journey with the help of others.

What are your plans for the future?
To help where I can.

What made you choose Brighton and this course (MA Sustainable Design)?
The course seemed to have a lot of insight into the way someone would generally think about how the world is designed, and I don’t only mean in a physical way, but in the systems that have been put in place by many people before us. Being able to learn about design in a fresh way was something that really drew me into wanting to do the course, and ever since I began, I haven’t been able to look at the world in the same way that I did before. It’s almost opened my eyes in a way. I found it so much more intriguing and challenging, in a positive manner, than I initially deemed, but it’s exactly what I needed. I believe this is a course that many people who would like to broaden their thinking should do.

Tell us about your course, for example favourite things, projects, workspace etc
The university tutors are the best thing about the course. They are helpful in all ways that you can imagine. The culture of helping is also such a massive thing in the sustainable design course. This is my favourite thing.

What aspects did you find the most interesting and the most challenging?
Being able to articulate the vision I had was crucial. While our imagination knows no bounds, the reality of the world does. However, I’m intrigued by how far I can push the boundaries by pursuing the direction I’ve chosen.

What are your favourite things about being a student at Brighton?
I believe Brighton is the best city in the UK.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of applying for this course?
Do it!

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