A space for exchange and celebration. Serpentine Pavilion 2023 Lina Katmeh – Architecture | About architecture and more

Looking at food as an expression of care, Lina Katma’s Pavilion project is a space to put our feet on the ground and reflect on our relationship with it, with nature and the environment. By offering a moment of coexistence around a table, Katma invites us to share the thoughts, fears, joys, dissatisfactions, responsibilities, traditions, cultural memories and stories that unite us.

Katma defines his approach to architecture as “the effects of the future.” Constructed mostly with low-carbon, bio-based materials. The shape of the pavilion matches the shape of the treetops in the park. The interior rafters that flank the perimeter of the structure look like slender logs and the perforated panels between the beams display plant-like patterns, aiding ventilation and letting in natural light.

The folded roof of the pavilion is inspired by the structure of a palm frond, while the light well in the center favors the integration of the space with its surroundings. The low and humble surface is inspired by Togon: structures in Mali, West Africa, traditionally used for community gatherings to discuss current issues, and also provide shade and relief from the heat. The low canopies of these structures encourage people to sit peacefully and pause during discussions.


Serpentine Suite 2023 designed by Lina Katmeh – Architecture. Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Serpentine.

Artist and composer Tarek Atwi has created a new soundscape for the pavilion, based on Lina Katmeh’s drawings and architectural materials and Atwi’s ongoing research into classical and country Arabic music. You can listen to Jad and Tarek Attoui’s “Dawn Choir,” featuring Berber chants from the Othmane Azoulid Choir (Ouarzazate, Morocco), in the Serpentine Guide on Bloomberg Connects.

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In a new collaboration with The Conran Shop, Lina Kattma designed two exclusive pieces of furniture for this year’s pavilion. A celebration of nature and conviviality, tables and benches decorate the interior of the structure. Made of oak with a dark red finish, 25 tables and 57 chairs come together to complete a festive display inside the Pavilion.

With his proposal, Katma also honors the history of the South Serpentine building, which was originally a tea house. Designed by James Gray West, the building opened in 1934 and became an art gallery in 1970. In the summer months until the early 1960s, the café’s seating also extended onto the lawn that now occupies the pavilion. Inspired by this story, Kotma incorporated the Pavilion Café menu into his design process, offering Mediterranean-inspired dishes made with local and seasonal ingredients.


Serpentine Suite 2023 designed by Lina Katmeh – Architecture. Photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of Serpentine.

Designed by Les Graphiquants studio in Paris, the accompanying catalog will feature contributions from Ali Sherri, Beatriz Colomina, Bernard Comment, Fouad El Kouri, Simone Fattal and David Zilber. It will also include a full conversation between Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Lina Katma. The book will be jointly published by Serpentine and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Köln, and will be available from August 2023.

Myrtle Frost

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