New Serpentine Pavilion Wants Guests to Eat, Play and Love the Earth

LONDONThe Lebanese-born, Paris-based architect Lina Ghotmeh is the next designer of the Serpentine Pavilion in London, which will be all about eating, socializing — and sustainability.

Ghotmeh’s pavilion, a social space in-the-round, will be unveiled at Serpentine South in June. It will remain on site until October, and during Frieze week, which has become a magnet for fashion designers keen to align themselves with the world of fine art.

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Ghotmeh’s eponymous firm develops projects at the crossroads of architecture, art and design. She describes her approach as 360-degree, and said it involves in-depth research on location history, typology of the place, materials, resources and users’ habits.

Her pavilion design is called “À table,” which means “come to the table.” It will be the Serpentine’s 22nd pavilion, and is aligned with the gallery’s ongoing theme of “archaeology of the future.”

The pavilion’s in-the-round layout is meant to allude to a sense of unity, with a seating formation that invites social interaction. The structure has been inspired by nature and is meant to echo the grounds and canopies of the trees in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, where the Serpentine galleries are located.

Lina Ghotmeh is the designer of the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion in <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:London" class="link ">London</a>.
Lina Ghotmeh is the designer of the 2023 Serpentine Pavilion in London.

“’À table’ is an invitation to dwell together, in the same space and around the same table. It is an encouragement to enter into a dialogue, to convene and to think about how we could reinstate and reestablish our relationship to nature and the Earth. As a Mediterranean woman, born and raised in Beirut, and living in Paris, I feel a deep belonging to our ground, to what it contains, and to what it embraces.” the architect said.

She added that the atmosphere is “reminiscent of toguna huts of the Dogon people in Mali, West Africa, designed to bring all members of a community together in discussion. Here we can eat, work, play, meet, talk, rethink and decide.”

The structure will be built with bio-sourced and low-carbon materials, designed to minimize its environmental impact, in line with Serpentine’s sustainability policy. Materials include sustainably sourced timber ribs that will be arranged to support a suspended, pleated roof.

The structure is meant to endure, and can be disassembled and reassembled.

Next summer, the pavilion will serve as a platform for Serpentine’s program, including live encounters in music, poetry, spoken word and dance. It will also host the Serpentine’s Education and Civic activations.

Ghotmeh’s projects include the Estonian National Museum; the Réalimenter Masséna wooden tower in Paris, which is dedicated to sustainable food culture; and Ateliers Hermès in Normandy, France, a passive, low-carbon building filled with workshops.

Ghotmeh is actively involved in academia, and has lectured in institutions worldwide. She is the Louis I Khan 2021 visiting professor at Yale School of Architecture; and Gehry Chair 2021–22 at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Her work is currently exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York and was previously shown at the MAXXI in Rome (2021–22) and the 17th Architecture Biennale in Venice (2021).

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