"À table": Serpentine Pavilion 2023 now open
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"À table": Serpentine Pavilion 2023 now open

The 22nd annual Serpentine Galleries project to be open to the public in London’s Kensington Gardens through October 29

Lina Ghotmeh Architecture

"À table": Serpentine Pavilion 2023 now open
By Editorial Staff -

Paris-based French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh has designed the Serpentine Pavilion 2023. The 22nd pavilion, a project commissioned each year by the Serpentine Galleries, opened its doors on June 9 in the usual Kensington Gardens, London, location. It will be open to visitors throughout the summer, until October 29.

The title of the project, À table, is a call to sit down at the table, share a meal, and converse. Drawing inspiration from her own Mediterranean roots, Lina Ghotmeh is inviting us to spend a moment of conviviality around the table, sharing ideas, worries, memories, and stories. The interior of the pavilion comprises long tables arranged in a circle around its perimeter, creating a space that invites us to come together and form new relationships.

Serpentine Pavilion 2023 designed by Lina Ghotmeh © Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, Photo: Iwan Baan, Courtesy: Serpentine

Serpentine Pavilion 2023: organic architecture

The Serpentine Pavilion project is the product of Lina Ghotmeh’s approach to architecture, which she regards as the “archeology of the future”. Reflecting a desire to create a new and sustainable relationship with nature, as if people and the Earth were a single organism, her architecture is made up of organic materials with low carbon emissions, and is shaped by the natural elements and the history of its setting.

From a formal point of view, the pavilion recalls the treetops of Kensington Gardens, with the pleated pattern of its wooden roof inspired by palm leaves. It rests like a cloak draped over beams and pillars, also wood, that resemble tree trunks.

At the top, the roof has a large circular lightwell in the middle, an element that strengthens the connection with its natural setting and brings natural light inside. With plant-inspired cut-out patterns and arranged in a pattern of alternating solids and voids, the wood panels that encircle the pavilion also filter the light.

Serpentine Pavilion 2023 designed by Lina Ghotmeh © Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture, Photo: Iwan Baan, Courtesy: Serpentine

References to traditional construction and architecture

Ghotmeh’s design features many references to traditional African structures, in particular, the togunas of Mali, with the pavilion resembling these typical hut-like structures that the Dogon people use to meet, make decisions, and shelter from the heat as a community.

But the architect also makes a clear reference to the historical Serpentine South building, by architect James Gray West, which started life as a teahouse in 1934 but was transformed into an art gallery in the 1970s.

Adding to the experience of immersion in this almost ancestral world created by Ghotmeh, artist and composer Tarek Atoui has created a soundscape for the pavilion – an evocative sound world rooted in traditional Arab music and inspired by the architect’s sketches.

>>> Lina Ghotmeh designs the new Maroquinerie di Louvriers, the second Hermès factory in Normandy

All images: Serpentine Pavilion 2023 designed by Lina Ghotmeh. © Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture. Photo: Iwan Baan, Courtesy: Serpentine

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