Architecture, News I 14.12.22 I by

Melbourne’s 2022 MPavilion is a glowing parasol made with experimental fabrics

The bright orange canopy of the 2022 MPavilion installation by all(zone) is a beacon against the green backdrop of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Garden – and it’s pushing the limits of what fabric architecture can achieve.

Rachaporn Choochuey’s Bangkok studio collaborated with AECOM and Schiavello Architects on the ingenious outdoor structure, which is the 9th MPavilion to date, commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.

‘MPavilion is special because even though it’s called a temporary pavilion, it’s actually even more complex than a building,’ explains Choochuey. ‘The engineering and manufacturing have been a huge step forward for us in understanding the possibilities of fabric-based architecture.’

Photography: John Gollings

Metal poles support the roof of the temporary structure – a frothy, skirt-like affair that billows overhead. It comprises 48 sewn sections and three distinct layers of materials: the outermost layer is built from fishing nets and gives the fabric structure its tactile appearance. Meanwhile, the waffled underside of the pavilion reminds visitors of sitting beneath a tree by dappling light and shade across the ground.

Sandwiched between these layers is a super lightweight engineered STFE membrane by Serge Ferrari – a polyacrylate mesh that weatherproofs the structure and reduces glare. It is as transparent as glass and ten times lighter, and the pavilion is the first time cutting-edge material has been used in Australia.

At night, MPavilion takes on a new life, with glowing light – part of a programme designed by local design studio Bluebottle – emphasising the undulating shapes and patterns of the installation. It’s on display until April 2023, when the structure will be moved to its new permanent home.

Photography: John Gollings
Photography: Casey Horsfield

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