Earlier this year, London’s Serpentine Gallery announced that Japanese architect Junya Ishigami would design its annual summer pavilion. Renderings of Ishigami’s design struck a brooding chord: Thin poles propped up a canopy made from Cumbrian slate that seemed to rise from the ground like a giant rock.
Now Ishigami’s billowing rock mass has been brought to life—albeit with a few fabrication concessions along the way. The Guardian reports that Ishigami’s vision for “something between a building and a landscape” encountered some logistical roadblocks during the rapid construction process (the firm also took some heat in March for employing unpaid interns, but ultimately agreed to only use paid workers for the project as ordered by the Serpentine Gallery.)
The architect, who is known for his sinuous, perspective-bending designs, envisioned a streak of slate that hovered delicately above an array of thin columns, allowing the area underneath to open into a spacious abyss.
But ultimately, extra columns needed to be installed to support the 62 tonnes of slate, and polycarbonate walls now snake throughout the space to prevent the furniture from blowing away. Of course, the end result is still striking—set against the Serpentine’s lush green lawn, Ishigami’s dark flow of slate is hard to miss.
The 2019 Serpentine Pavilion will be on view from June 21 through October 6.