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Melbourne’s MPavilion: When Architecture Meets Art
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Melbourne’s MPavilion: When Architecture Meets Art

Picture of Ute Raabe
Updated: 12 December 2015
MPavilion is an event hub, a meeting place, a temporary landmark, a spontaneous detour, and a starting point. It is a place for thinkers, doers and makers and delivers a free four-month program of talks, workshops, performances and installations. MPavilion is also a major international architecture commission and design collaboration, initiated by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and designed by AL_A, the studio of renowned British architect Amanda Levete.

The groundbreaking structure employs materials and technology developed for the aerospace industry to create a graceful ‘forest canopy’ of five and three-meter-wide translucent petals supported on slender four-meter-high columns. Each petal is just a few millimetres thick, and the resulting ultra-lightweight structure sits lightly in the landscape and gently responds to the climate. The petals are fitted with LED lights that are activated at sunset to give a light performance synchronised with music.

MPavilion is presented free to the public over four months until February 7, 2016 and populated by more than 200 free events, created in collaboration with more than 200 arts organisations, designers and architects from Melbourne and around the globe.

Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, speaking at the launch of the 2015 MPavilion said: ‘The City of Melbourne is proud to collaborate with the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to support the second annual MPavilion. Following the success of the inaugural Sean Godsell pavilion, which attracted 64,000 visitors, the 2015 MPavilion returns with a dynamic cultural program that will activate our city’s public spaces this summer.’

Amanda Levete commented: ‘I’m delighted that the 2015 MPavilion can now be shared with the public. Our Pavilion is a celebration of those natural shelters where we come together, and we have achieved an exceptionally light, open structure that sits gently on the land and allows the light, the wind, and sometimes the rain, to form part of the show. It is designed to provide a contemplative, personal experience as well as a place to congregate. I’m extremely grateful to Naomi Milgrom and the Foundation, not only for giving us the opportunity to push the boundaries of technology to create this experience but also for donating it to the people of Melbourne.’

Amanda’s MPavilion creates an elegant and magical architectural experience for all to enjoy. It responds to its setting and transforms materials taking technology and innovation to new levels. A utopian space, MPavilion will act as a catalyst for the creative industry and the community to explore design’s role in contemporary culture.

The MPavilion 2015 program will have more than 200 free events, including talks, films and gatherings, exploring architecture, landscape and design. The public program has been created in collaboration with leading cultural organisations from around the world including the Melbourne Festival, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, London Design Festival and Google Creative Lab.

Every evening at sunset, the pavilion structure will create its own evening sunset ritual that is a collaboration between the architect, lighting designer Ben Cobham and sound artist Matthias Schack-Arnott of Speak Percussion.