The latest Serpentine Pavilion to pop up in the gallery’s grounds has been unveiled. Designed by French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh, the “À Table” structure is inspired by both Ghotmeh’s own heritage and community buildings found in Mali, West Africa, and hopes to encourage conversations and communal experiences between visitors.
À Table marks Ghotmeh’s first design in the UK, and is described by Serpentine’s Artistic Director Hans Ulrich Obrist as “promoting unity and conviviality in its form and function”.
With a sustainable focus, the structure has been crafted from bio-sourced and low-carbon materials. In terms of the design, its intention is to work in harmony with the surrounding natural environment, with its shape inspired by that of a tree canopy. Across the design, cut-out patterns resemble abstract plant shapes, while the roof itself has been inspired by the concertina texture of a palm leaf.
For the interior elements, Ghotmeh has worked with The Conran Shop to create tables and chairs upon which visitors can perch. The architect has also designed the structure to be completely dismantalable and adaptable – allowing it to move on to a new home after its time at the Serpentine.
“In today’s changing times, this pavilion offers a celebratory space,” Ghotmeh says. “It is endowed with a table, around which we will sit together in a modest low structure and in an atmosphere reminiscent of Toguna huts of the Dogon people in Mali, West Africa, designed to bring all members of the community together in discussion. Here, we can eat, work, play, meet, talk, rethink, and decide.”
In addition, a soundscape has been designed by artist and composer Tarek Atoui. Based on Ghotmeh’s sketches, Atoui has drawn upon research into classical and rural Arab music to create something that responds to the architectural details and materials. As with each annual pavilion commission, a corresponding events program will take place – take a look at what’s on here.
The Serpentine Pavilion is open to the public until October 29. In other architecture news, TAO has created a colorful and experimental school in Hainan.