MPavilion has announced the first wave of its free public programs and collaborations in conjunction with the second annual MPavilion.Designers and collaborators led by MPavilion’s creative director Robert Buckingham gathered in Melbourne this morning near the site of the 2015 MPavilion at the Queen Victoria Gardens, near Melbourne’s Southbank Arts Precinct.
This year’s designer is British architect Amanda Levete of London-based studio AL_A. Described as a “forest canopy”, the pavilion is made up of translucent “petals” made from thin composite and carbon fibre. The pavilion is also “weather responsive”, designed to move with the wind and diffuse rays of sunlight during the day.
Levete herself was not present, but Adelaide lighting designer Ben Cobham, “society” landscape designer Paul Bangay, and sound designer Matthias Schack-Arnott spoke about the pavilion’s various design features, explaining how the petals act as speakers, helping the sound transcend and move fluidly throughout the structure.
While last year’s pavilion designed by Australian architect Sean Godsell featured a daily ritual of the enclosed steel structure opening up every morning, this year’s pavilion will have a different ritual of transforming at sunset. LED lights will act as an “aura” in the evening, and lights and speakers on the petals will heighten the experience at night. According to the MPavilion staff, this transformation represents community and a celebration of sound, light and architecture.
MPavilion is commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports public design and architecture projects. The free events surrounding the structure are also supported by the City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government, although MPavilion staff commented on how the last may be affected in future by recent cuts to federal government arts funding.
MPavilion may have been inspired by London’s Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park, but the MPavilion team hopes it has transformed into its own “unique Melbourne experience,” active in “engaging the public”. This year’s collaborators include Melbourne Festival, ACMI, London Design Festival and Google’s Creative Lab.
In a collaboration with Melbourne Festival, Yarra Trams and Creative Victoria architect Matthew Bird and choreographer Phillip Adams have teamed up to design one of the eight trams for those organisations’ Art Tram Project under the theme “Architecture and the City”. Kloke designers Amy and Adam Coombes have designed white and dark striped garments to be worn by MPavilion workers. MPavilion has also collaborated with ACMI, with David Bowie Is… and Orry-Kelly: Dressing Hollywood, two exhibitions related to design.
Many of the scheduled workshops and events are inspired by the canopy-like pavilion design itself, with the theme of “wellness and public engagement with design”. Free festival events include lunchtime musical performances, discussions about design and architecture, meditation, spoken word poetry and book readings, and showings of documentaries related to design and architecture.
Last year’s pavilion will be permanently moved to the Hellenic Museum.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, will officially open MPavilion on October 5. Entry to MPavilion and its programmed events are free to the public from October 5, 2015 until February 7, 2016 in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens.