Serpentine Pavilion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture

Slate Shapes Serpentine

Each year since 2000, outside the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, a pavilion is erected by a selected architect. Usually highly experimental and visually exciting pavilions are created by those brimming with creativity and vision. This year it’s the work of Japanese architect Junya Ishigami that’s on show.

Serpentine Pavillion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Norbert Tukaj

The pavilion is a mass of slate- ragged slabs overlap one other forming a single roofed area with sloping cave-like sides. Keeping the structure lifted are a sequence of pins connected to the slate by an internal steel net, which, from a distance, give the illusion that it is floating.

Serpentine Pavilion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Iwan Baan
Serpentine Pavilion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Iwan Baan

Ishigami’s vision was for an unspecified and ambiguous shape that can be visualised a range of different ways, sparking the imagination of visitors. He himself views the slanting roof and vertical columns as the wings of a bird dripping with rain, but the hidden complexity of the structure enables different vantage points to evoke a multitude of identities.

Serpentine Pavilion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Norbert Tukaj
Serpentine Pavilion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Taran Wilkhu

The form reaches the ground in three corners which help secure its rigidity. The limited contact points give the appearance of a weightless structure whilst the heavy slate roof suggests a dense rocky mountain. It plays with our imagination while emphasising “a natural and organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn”.

Serpentine Pavillion Junya Ishigami slate design architecture
Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Norbert Tukaj

Junya Ishigami
Serpentine Gallery

A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, July 2019.

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