LONDON – Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, well known for his experimental structures informed by nature, is the designer behind this year’s Summer Pavilion at London’s Serpentine Gallery.
The Japanese designer draws inspiration from roofs, the most reproduced architectural element in the world, something the Pavilion’s design reflects.
“My design for the Pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasizing a natural and organic feel as though it has grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks,” the architect said.
“This is an attempt to supplement traditional architecture with modern methodologies and concepts, to create in this place an expanse of scenery like never seen before,” Ishigami continued.
The design will be made of slates that spring up from the floor to create a canopy that creates a “cave-like space” that invites visitors to slow down in the hectic British city.
A place for contemplation and reflection.
“Possessing the weighty presence of slate roods seen around the world, and simultaneously appearing so light it could blow away in the breeze, the cluster of scattered rock levitates, like a billowing piece of fabric,” he added.
Ishigami (born 1974) founded the award-winning Junya Ishigami + Associates in 2004, as well as the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2010 Golden Lion prize.
His trademark of combining the man-made with nature has led to dreamlike creations that include references to forests, clouds and landscapes.
The announcement in March that Ishigami would be designing the Pavilion was embroiled in controversy after “The Architects’ Journal” published a paper that accused his firm of not paying interns for their work.
On the back of this, the London gallery demanded that anyone involved in the development of the Summer project should be paid.
Ishigami on Wednesday defended the practice to the journal, stating that in Japan it was customary not to pay students who were interning.
In another hiccup, the official presentation of his design to the media was canceled on Tuesday after the sudden resignations of the gallery’s executive director, Yana Pee, for her alleged connection to Israeli cyber-tech firm, NSO Group Technologies.
“NSO Group sells its products to governments who are known for outrageous human rights abuses, giving them the tools to track activists and critics,” Danna Ingleton, deputy director of Amnesty tech said in a statement in May.
The 2019 pavilion will be the Serpentine Gallery’s 19th project which has seen the likes of Zaha Hadid, Francis Kere and Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, among many others contribute with their designs.
“Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion – a gravity-defying structure informed by the natural world – succeeds in inspiring the imagination of what is possible in architecture,” the Serpentine’s artistic director, Hans Ulrich Obrist, said.
“The Pavilion and its accompanying program will be central to the Serpentine’s General Ecology strand – an ongoing investigation into complex systems, interspecies landscapes and the environment,” he added.