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Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion highlights Cumbria’s traditional stonemasonry


Japanese architect Junya Ishigami has created a shingle-covered Serpentine Pavilion that draws on the ancient building cultures of Cumbria, UK.

Situated on the grounds of The Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the artwork features a 61-tonne slate canopy and is supported by a series of white poles.

“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,” explained Ishigami, who is the 19th architect to devise a temporary pavilion for the gallery.

Slate for the roof, which was added to give the structure an ‘organic’ and primeval look, was sourced from Cumbria’s Honister Mine, which has been in operation since 1728.

Eden Stonework, a Cumbria-based stonemasonry company, was responsible for the installation.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the way Junya Ishigami is showcasing the natural qualities of the slate,” said Joe Weir, co-owner of Honister. 

“His design reflects the rugged nature of the landscape we live and work in.”

Speaking on the project, Adam Knowles, owner of Eden Stonework, commented, "It’s not like any job we’ve done before. We weren’t quite sure what to expect until we got on-site. 

“The experimental form and design of the structure have pushed the boundaries of how the stone masons worked with the material.”

The exhibit is scheduled to open to the public on 21 June and will remain on display until 6 October.

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