Timeless timber

Lebanese architect Lina Ghotmeh has been announced as the 22nd Serpentine Pavilion designer.

Titled ‘À Table’ after the French expression for sitting together to eat, Paris-based architect Lina Ghotmeh's pavilion design was informed by her research on community meeting spaces, such as the toguna huts of the Dogon people in Mali. It includes a ring of tables and benches that will welcome visitors to meet, work, eat and talk, and Ghotmeh hopes that it will encourage unity and community.

Inspired by nature, ‘echoing the grounds and the canopies of the trees of its surrounds’, the pavilion will consist of a timber frame semi-enclosed by translucent walls that surround a low table. The structure will be topped with a gabled roof designed to emulate the lines on leaves.

Ghotmeh also aims to minimise the carbon footprint of the pavilion at every possible point: the timber will be a laminated veneer lumber, a material similar to cross-laminated timber that allows for slender structures; the glass screens will be made out of low-carbon recycled glass, a technology developed by French manufacturing company Saint-Gobain; and the connections are designed for easy assembly/disassembly.

Since its launch in 2000, the annual Serpentine Pavilion has become one of the most anticipated events in the global cultural calendar, and a leading visitor attraction during London’s summer season of culture. During its 22-year existence, the Serpentine Galleries have commissioned some of the world’s most renowned architects, including Zaha Hadid, Design Indaba alum Diébédo Francis Kéré and South Africa’s own Sumayya Vally, to create a structure that will be open from June to October 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 re-establish our relationship to nature and the Earth,’ says Ghotmeh about her Serpentine Pavilion, which will be installed in Kensington Gardens in June 2023.

Ghotmeh’s previous works include Stone Garden, an apartment block in her hometown of Beirut that was completed only shortly before the devastating explosion in the city yet survived with minor damage. 

Find out more about Lina Ghotmeh here https://inda.ba/3ORNDEk 

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Credits: Lina Ghotmeh and Serpentine Pavilion.