A visit to the Kitengela Glass Research and Training Trust is a magical day out for anyone who has the slightest interest in art and design.
The Centre is found just on the edge of the the Nairobi National Park and is directly next door to Anselm’s Hot Glass Studio which offers commercial glassware whether it be hand blown glasses, vases or architectural work. The Kitengela Glass Research and Training Trust offers more quirky one off pieces using all sorts of recycled materials to create an amazing array of completely unique objects. The centre is a fun place to get to as it borders the Nairobi Game Park and is around 30-40 minutes away from the city centre.
You drive through open land across bumpy tracks and uneven roads following the signs until eventually you start approach the centre. At this point you’ll start to see enormous 20 foot tall sculptures dominating the landscape and as you get closer, a dazzling array of glass mosaic sculptures litter the environment. Finally, when you arrive at the centre you’ll see the various art studios and show rooms where stained glass, blown glass, sculptures and jewellery are made and sold. Right next door is the Kitengela Hot glass Workshop where Alselm Croze (Nani’s son) has built an enormous brick furnace. Here you can see glass blowing, purchase high quality blown items, architectural items and commission work if you want to. It’s a wonderful place!
There are secret overgrown pathways leading from one place to another, quirky odd shaped buildings with low ceilings and gorgeous mosaic details are found on the walls, floors and ceilings throughout the grounds, sculptures and art pieces are everywhere.
Kitengela Glass has been in existence for over 25 years and was started up by the German artist, Nani Croze. She still passionately cares about not only the beautiful art creations made by the centre, but also for the local community who benefit greatly from the expertise and income that she has brought to their lives.
Many people have been trained at the workshop since its inception, all working in the various disciplines of glass blowing, stained glass, sculpture and jewellery.
The centre has 5 beautiful quirky guest-houses that look as though the Spanish Architect, Antoni Gaudi must have created them. Undulating walls, stained glass windows and mosaic cladding all feature in these unique buildings. They are used as guest-houses either for people attending the courses that are run at the centre, or simply for groups of friends who want a weekend away together. There is a secluded pool with what looks like an enormous Loch Ness Monster swimming in it! The views from the guest-houses and swimming pool are stunning as they look over the gorge.
RESIDENTIAL TRAINING COURSES
Courses are held for anyone who wants to come and learn about glass blowing, stained glass making, mosaic tiling or sculptures. The courses are tailor made to suit the interests of participants and the level of expertise they have.
8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm Sunday. If bringing an especially large group, you are requested to book ahead of time.
Nani Croze lives next door to her son, Anselm who runs the Kitengela HotGlass Centre.
Telephone: +254 20 300 5126 / +254 736 761 533
KITENGELA GLASS RESEARCH & TRAINING TRUST
Opening times at the Main Kitengela Centre: 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm Sunday. If bringing an especially large group, you are requested to book ahead of time.
KITENGELA GLASS GARDEN SHOP AT LE RUSTIQUE
General Mathenge in Westlands
Tel: +254 734 287887
Monday 9:30am-6 pm, Tues – Fri 10am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-6 pm. Closed on: Sundays, public holidays including Christmas Day and January 1st
Ngong Road, Tel: +254 722 899 080
Monday 9:30am-6 pm, Tues – Fri 10am-6 pm, Saturday 9 am-6 pm. Closed on: Sundays, public holidays including Christmas Day and January 1st.
Directions:It’s pretty hard to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for, so we would recommend that you go with someone who knows the way, or with a guided tour. FROM KAREN: At the Galleria turn right as if heading to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Drive along, past Banda School on your right past plenty of speed bumps until your reach a township. There is no sign that we saw, but before going into the township, take a large left turn on the left. Drive along here for about 2km and then take a right turn – you may be lucky to see a sign here! Drive past the Nazarine University – follow the road. Eventually you’ll reach a bridge. Drive over it. Keep driving for about another 2 km and at this point you should start to see signs to Kitengela Glass. It’s about another 2-3km of very rough terrain until you reach the centre. Anselm’s HotGlass Workshop and wholesale shop is also found here at the same location right next door.