The IAA Professor Lina Ghotomeh has been selected to create a timber pavilion sheltering a low circular table for the 22nd Serpentine Pavilion. Ghotomeh’s Pavilion will be installed in London’s Kensington Gardens in June 2023 with Goldman Sachs supporting the annual project for the 9th consecutive year.
With her project titled “À table”, the Lebanese-born french architect calls for people to sit down together at a table and alludes to a sense of unity with the form of the pavilion’s structure and an organic design of a table as well as seating formation inviting human interactions. Inspired by nature and echoing the grounds and canopies of the trees and its surroundings, the idea of togetherness and community will take center stage in Ghotmeh’s structural architecture.
The IAA Professor Lina Ghotmeh said:
“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 re-establish our relationship to nature and the Earth.
The Earth that embraces us is our first source of sustenance; without it, we living beings, could not survive. Rethinking what and how much we eat – how we ‘consume’ and how we weave our relationships to one another and the living world – moves us towards a more sustainable, eco-systemic communion with the Earth. Our ‘cuisine’ grounds us home; it reminds us how linked we are to the climates in which we grew up. 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: from the buried yet weathering archaeologies of past civilisations to the embedded living world that spurs green life to sprout from every crack in the streets.
In my practice as an architect, I excavate to design (and learn) from the traces of the past and I listen to the voices of my ancestors as well as those of our living world. These voices vividly resonate with future structures as ways to influence and challenge tomorrow’s architecture.
In today’s changing times, this Pavilion offers a celebratory space. 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 a community together in discussion. Here we can eat, work, play, meet, talk, rethink, and decide.
Built with bio-sourced and low-carbon materials, the structure appears like a skeleton. Sustainably sourced timber ribs are arranged to support a suspended pleated roof. Echoing the structures of tree leaves, the Pavilion embraces the nature of the park in which it emerges. Reminding us of the many lives blossoming beneath our feet, the concave lines of its perimeter are drawn from the forms in the stems and canopies of adjacent trees.
While rooted in its place and welcoming the space of the park with its open gallery-like envelope, the Pavilion grows as an adaptable system. It can be disassembled and reassembled, allowing it to live beyond its Serpentine site, while holding the memory of its original ground.”
“We are thrilled to present Lina Ghotmeh’s first structure in the UK here at Serpentine next summer. Her design for À table draws on natural elements that reflect its surroundings in Kensington Gardens and expands on our mission of creating connections between architecture and society by promoting unity and togetherness in its form and function. We are endlessly grateful to our loyal partners and supporters, for making Ghotmeh’s brilliant concept for a Pavilion built from state-of-the-art sustainable materials into an inspiring reality, for the people of London and for our visitors from around the world to enjoy all summer. As Etel Adnan once told us, The world needs togetherness, not separation. Love, not suspicion. A common future, not isolation.”, said Bettina Korek, Chief Executive, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director
This pioneering and prestigious commission, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has presented the first completed UK structures by some of the biggest names and emerging talents in international architecture. The Pavilion has evolved over the years as a participatory public and artistic platform for the Serpentine’s innovative, experimental, interdisciplinary, community and family live programmes.
Image © Lina Ghotmeh — Architecture Courtesy: Serpentine