Aiming for a clean slate

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami, is rather ominous in appearance. Its sprawling grey mass, which looks from certain angles to be hovering, suggests a feathered flying dinosaur miraculously resurrected not by a scientist but by an architect. The seeming weightlessness of the structure is all the more impressive when you consider that its roof, composed of arbitrarily placed slate slabs, weighs more than 61 tonnes. The slabs are supported by slender white columns positioned between two and three metres apart, each piece piled onto a grid of steel mesh. Some of the pieces are held in place by wire loops, while others are held down by the weight of the stone atop them. Diminutive steel tables and chairs, also designed by Ishigami, furnish the spartan underbelly.

The pavilion’s rawness reflects the aesthetic of certain

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