The Serpentine Galleries in London are once again, now for the nineteenth time, opening their anticipated summer pavilion season with the inauguration of this year's Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami.
"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 had grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks," Ishigami said describing his design.
"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. Possessing the weighty presence of slate roofs 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."
"The interior of the Pavilion is an enclosed cave-like space, a refuge for contemplation. For me, the Pavilion articulates a ‘free space’ philosophy that is to harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature."
Ishigami's selection as this year's architect of the annual summer attraction was announced in February, joining the ranks of established architecture champions and, in recent years, rising stars like Frida Escobedo (2018) and Diébédo Francis Kéré (2017). The selection process this year was chaired by Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel together, with advisors David Adjaye and Richard Rogers, among others.
A few weeks after the initial announcement, Junya Ishigami + Associates and the Serpentine Galleries got under fire when the Architect's Journal reported that the firm used unpaid interns in Japan. The gallery promised to look into the allegations and ordered the firm to pay all staff working directly on his Serpentine project, but Ishigami could not entirely escape some international backlash when MIT decided to cancel a scheduled lecture and discussion on labor practices with him in April.
The pavilion season officially kicks off this week with Junya Ishigami and artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen discussing the project and the related Serpentine Augmented Architecture commission in a conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist on Thursday, June 20 at 1:30 PM. Can't make it to London in time? Watch the conversation online here.
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