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Francis Ayo Assaf,


Francis Ayo Assaf is an accomplished and award-winning architect with over three decades of global experience in the business, design and construction industry and a passion for creating excellent buildings and great places. He is an experienced practice leader, studio director and multi-disciplinary project orchestrator involved in numerous published and award-winning projects. His specialities include master planning, mixed-use, commercial, retail, leisure, entertainment, hospitality and residential projects.

Mr. Assaf integrates his global experience along with a strong understanding of the local context and sensibilities to develop appropriate designs, culturally, aesthetically and economically, with the emphasis on bridging technology and architectural vocabulary to indigenous elements and local lifestyle. He draws from his global experience in diverse project types – from large complex projects to small-medium scale projects, applying appropriate attention to each project’s unique context and requirements.

After two decades of professional growth working at leading firms in New York City, he founded and currently leads Axis Design International (AxisDI) – a boutique consulting firm targeting the emerging African and international markets. The firm has completed several constructions, master planning and design commissions in the US and Africa. One of his pioneer projects in Nigeria, Tango Towers, multi-family residential towers in Ikoyi, Lagos, won the 2012 IDEA award for best residential high-rise project. He also led the Lagos Island West Redevelopment Plan – a strategic, transformational vision master plan that infuses cultural and historical sensitivity in the revitalization proposals for the central city of Lagos Island. Some recent projects include Porcelanosa Showroom and Gaia Women Club in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Francis has a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Howard University, Washington D.C. and a Master’s degree from Pratt Institute, New York, with additional courses at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Urban Land Institute and the Wharton School of Business’ University of Shopping Center. He maintains licenses in New York, New Jersey and Nigeria.