The Serpentine Pavilion 2023, designed by French-Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh was unveiled to the public on the 9th of June 2023 at Serpentine South. This is the 22nd Pavilion and is supported by Goldman Sachs for the 9th year.
The beautiful structure is called À table – a French call to sit together at the table to share a meal and enter into dialogue.
Made out of sustainable, bio-sourced wood, the structure blends into its environment. At the centre of the structure is a pleated wood lattice which is a palm-like shape which also creates a lightwell. The fully unmountable structure will be reused in a different location after it is finished at the Serpentine.
Who is Lina Ghotmeh?
Lina Ghotmeh is an acclaimed architect recognised for her innovative designs and concepts. She is the principal of Lina Ghotmeh – Architecture, a Paris-based firm she established in 2006. Her work spans multiple disciplines, including architecture, urban planning, and design.
Ghotmeh was born in Beirut, Lebanon and has lived and worked in multiple countries, including France, the UK, and Estonia. Her international experiences have influenced her design philosophy, and she often explores themes related to history, memory, and nature in her work.
She completed her architectural studies at the American University of Beirut and later at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris. She has also studied at the Architectural Association in London.
One of her notable works includes the “Stone Garden” building in Beirut, a seven-story structure characterised by its irregularly stacked layers and incorporation of vegetation. The building is a tribute to Beirut’s history and resilience in the face of adversity. Its distinctive design mirrors the haphazard construction that characterised the city’s post-war period, while the integration of vegetation symbolises hope and renewal.
Ghotmeh has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work, including the 2020 European Prize for Architecture Philippe Rotthier. Her approach to design is often praised for its humanistic focus, sustainability, and careful consideration of her projects’ historical and cultural context.
Her practice takes an in-depth 360 approach to its projects, including research on location history, typology of the place, materials, resources, users’ habits etc. The architect’s designs are developed through historical research, emerging as interventions that enliven memories.
What is the Serpentine Pavilion?
The Serpentine Pavilion is an annual architectural commission and exhibition held by the Serpentine Galleries in London. The organisation invites a distinguished architect or architectural firm to design and build a temporary structure in Kensington Gardens adjacent to the gallery every year. The architect chosen had not completed a building in England at the time of the commission.
Initiated in 2000, the Serpentine Pavilion project has showcased work from some of the biggest architectural names. These include Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural pavilion, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, Ai Weiwei, Bjarke Ingels, and many others.
Each pavilion is unique, reflecting the architectural vision and innovation of its creator(s). They often experiment with form, material, and conceptual ideas. The pavilions are also functional and host various cultural events and performances during their summer lifespan. Despite their temporary nature, the pavilions have been highly influential in architecture and critically acclaimed.
How to get to the Serpentine Pavilion?
The Pavilion is situated on the grounds of the Serpentine South Gallery. The easiest way to get there is from Kensington South tube station and then walk up exhibition road either using the tunnel beneath the road or walking over ground. It will take around 15 minutes to walk.
Below are some photographs I took at the preview with Lina Ghotmeh, with lots more on the links below.