Junya Ishigami's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion opens in London

A 'refuge for contemplation' that blends the natural and the artificial

by Rossana Vinci
6 Love 3411 Visits

The Serpentine Pavilion 2019 is ready to open to the public and will remain open until October 6th in Kensington Gardens, London. This year it has been designed by the Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, celebrated for his experimental structures that interpret traditional architectural conventions and reflect natural phenomena.

Ishigami’s design takes inspiration from roofs, the most common architectural feature used around the world. The design of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion is made by arranging slates to create a single canopy roof that appears to emerge from the ground of the surrounding Park. Within, the interior of the Pavilion is an enclosed cave-like space, a refuge for contemplation. For Ishigami, the Pavilion articulates his ‘free space’ philosophy in which he seeks harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature.

Ph. © Iwan Baan


Describing his design, Ishigami said: ‘My design for the Pavilion plays with our perspectives of the built environment against the backdrop of a natural landscape, emphasising a natural and organic feel as though it had grown out of the lawn, resembling a hill made out of rocks. This is an attempt to supplement traditional architecture with modern methodologies and concepts, to create in this place an expanse of scenery like never seen before.’

Ph. © Iwan Baan


Junya Ishigami (b. 1974) worked as an architect at SANAA before founding the prize-winning Junya Ishigami + Associates in 2004. Winner of the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010, he was the subject of a major and critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in 2018 that is traveling to the Power Station of art in Shanghai later this year. He is known for designs with dream-like qualities that incorporate the natural world, such as landscapes, forests and clouds, in an architectural practice that places humankind as part of nature.

Ph. © Iwan Baan


He is the nineteenth architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion on the Serpentine Gallery’s lawn in Kensington Gardens. This pioneering commission, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has presented the first UK structures by some of the biggest names in international architecture.

In recent years it has grown into a highly-anticipated showcase for emerging talent, from Frida Escobedo of Mexico to Francis Kéré of Burkina Faso and Bjarke Ingels of Denmark, whose 2016 Pavilion was the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world.



21 June – 6 October 2019



Cover photo: © Iwan Baan

Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Press release





  • . scotshot

    Reminiscent of Andy Goldsmith. Dark, dreary reminds me of a car park.

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Serpentine Pavilion 2019

City of London / United Kingdom / 2019