Artists give new life to Ivory Coast’s neglected ‘Pyramid’
ABIDJAN — International and local artists paint giant, colorful murals on the exterior of a 15-storey building in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital called “the Pyramid,” an architectural gem that fell into disuse 20 years ago.
A symbol of Ivorian prosperity in the 1970s and one of the first towers built in the central business district of Plateau in Abidjan, this futuristic pyramid-shaped building was neglected for years. The project “Pyramid 2023, tomorrow is already born” aims to give it a second life.
Through this initiative, Ivorian artistic director Lemon Otto renovates external facades of older building such as Pyramid, which was completed in 1973 under the direction of the Italian architect Rinaldo Olivieri.
“This project allows us to have a look at Abidjan, which is not always well known, to highlight Ivorian creativity, to show that Ivory Coast is … a land of inspiration and of entrepreneurship in the cultural and creative industries,” said Françoise Remarck, Ivorian minister of culture, who aims to make Abidjan West Africa’s artistic and cultural hub.
The renovation must respect the original architecture of the building since the current structure is in good condition, added the minister of construction and urbanism, Bruno Nabagne Kone.
Many buildings in the business district are internationally known and could teach Ivorians about their own urban history, architects say.
“Ivorians should learn to look at the architectural heritage that surrounds them,” said architect Issa Diabate.