Serpentine Pavilion 2019
This year, the prestigious Serpentine Pavilion commission has been awarded to Japanese architect Junya Ishigami who will bring a cave-like canopy to Kensington Gardens this summer
Junya Ishigami is the 19th architect selected to design the Serpentine Pavilion, with his structure to be on display from 20 June to 6 October. Starkly differing from Frida Escobedo’s Aztec-inspired, open courtyard design last summer, Ishigami's pavilion will focus heavily on the concept of roofs, with slates forming a single canopy sliding out of the ground. It is certainly a fitting, if not essential, subject for rainy England, with many of Ishigami's renderings depicting the pavilion engulfed in a foggy miasma as rain pours down on its ash-grey covering.
Serpentine Pavilion 2019, Design Render, Exterior and Interior Views © Junya Ishigami + Associates
The Japanese architect is known for drawing inspiration from natural surroundings. The pavilion will show off his aptitude for seamlessly blending manmade design with natural topographies by creating a cave-like refuge which aims to offer a space for contemplation. Ishigami explains that 'my design for the pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasising a natural and organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks’.
Ishigami founded his prize-winning architectural practice, Junya Ishigami + Associates, in 2004, and has since collected a host of prestigious accolades, including the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 2010. He was the subject of a major exhibition at Paris’s Fondation Cartier in 2018 which invited visitors to step into his surreal imagination through a display of over 40 utopian designs. With many of his buildings and installations modelled after rocks and clouds, Ishigami's attraction to organic forms often produces ethereal-looking structures. His pavilion promises to possess a similar transient quality, as the architect has described it as 'appearing so light it could blow away in the breeze' – an apt aesthetic to reflect a fleeting English summer.