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Summer Pavilion designed by the internationally renowned Japanese architect Junya Ishigami.
The Serpentine devoted their entire gallery space to the work of American artist and activist Faith Ringgold.

    Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2019 by Junya Ishigami & Faith Ringgold Exhibition

    23 August 2019

    A warm summer’s day is the perfect time to see the new Summer Pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, London.

    London, By Anna Herring @anna.herring

    Every year the Serpentine plays host to a new Summer Pavilion designed by an internationally renowned architect. In 2019 it has been designed by Junya Ishigami - a Japanese architect - and it was the first time a design of his has been built in the UK. When commissioning the architect for the Summer Pavilion the choice of the Serpentine Board is focused on architects who continually and consistently push the boundaries of contemporary architecture. The aim of the Summer Pavilion is to expose the chosen architects work to a wider audience. The goal underpinned by the reach and publicity that surrounds this prestigious commission and the Summer Pavilion itself.

    The chosen architect is presented with a brief to design a Summer Pavilion that can be used as a cafe and meeting space for visitors to the gallery during the day and at night, as a space for learning, debate and entertainment. As such the winning design must truly be a multipurpose space. The inaugural Summer Pavilion (2000) was designed by the late, great Dame Zaha Hadid - just one of the many reasons why this continues to be such a prestigious commission for subsequent contemporary architects.

    Junya Ishigami’s 19th Summer Pavilion is focused around a slate roof which is its central feature using a mixture of historical and modern cultural references that are personal to Ishigami. Randomly arranged slates link to the traditional technique used in Japanese architecture. The flowing shape of the roof between the lawn and the surrounding environment links to the importance of nature in Japanese culture. In his design Ishigami challenges gravitational and structural restrictions as the slate roof is suspended on steel rods, the boldness of the roof is contrasted with the slightness of the rods. As such, the Summer Pavilion is transformed from what appears to be a heavy structure into one that seems as if almost floating above the ground. 

    The use of slate as the primary material ensures that the Summer Pavilion also has a cave-like quality linking back to the connection with nature. The Serpentine highlights in its’ overview of the Summer Pavilion that it is “a quiet place for refuge and contemplation, with a forest of steel columns”. This could not describe the Summer Pavilion more perfectly, as Ishigami has flawlessly interwoven the elements of man-made with those that exist in nature. Ishigami himself says “my design for the Pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasising a natural, organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks”.

    The Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2019 is a magnificent piece of architecture and one that I most definitely recommend visiting.

    Also on at the Serpentine Gallery is an exhibition on Faith Ringgold - her first in an European institution. The Serpentine’s entire indoor gallery space has been devoted to her work. Faith Ringgold, artist, activist and children’s author, has centred her work over five decades on perceptions of African American identity and gender inequality. She is most widely recognised for her painted story quilts which combine personal narratives, history and politics. As Ringgold herself highlights, “to tell my story, or more to the point, my side of the story”, as an African American woman. The expansive exhibition features Ringgold’s paintings, political posters and story quilts. Her work is simultaneously awesome and fascinating.

    The Pavilion can be visited until 6th October 2019. The Faith Ringgold exhibition runs from 6th June 2019 to 8th September 2019. 



    Image Credit: Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Norbert Tukaj 






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