From Sean Godsell’s openable box of surprises to Amanda Levete’s ethereal tree-inspired canopy, the MPavilion has steadily established itself as a key Melbourne autumn staple, marking the start of the Australian summer. This year for the installation’s third edition, MPavilion founder Naomi Milgrom invited celebrated Indian architect Bijoy Jain to design his own version of the Queen Victoria Gardens folly.
Heading acclaimed architecture practice Studio Mumbai, Jain has a strong following and solid reputation for top craftsmanship, elegant designs and collaborative working. His firm creates works of all scales from its western Indian base, where they employ artisans, specialist craftspeople, as well as architects and designers to bring a rounded, craft-based approach to their commissions.
True to their signature style, the architect and his team fashioned a structure out of bamboo (some seven kilometres of it, in fact) for this year’s MPavilion commission. Put together using stone and rope, the piece is inspired by traditional Indian structures, explains Jain – a tazia, a ceremonial tower created traditionally for festivals, sits next to the pavilion, marking its entrance. Taking things one step further, the architect also commissioned the pavilion to be prefabricated by a family owned business in India, who worked on it over the course of four months. The pavilion sits on a bluestone floor – the material was sourced from a quarry in Part Fairy, Victoria.
Apart from providing an architectural focus to the park’s green expanses and a visual delight for its visitors day and night (there are plans to light it in the evenings and dress it with music), the pavilion is also going to be a functional rest and event space. In fact, the organisers are planning to bring it to life for the duration of its stay through a packed programme of over 400 free public events, including talks, tours, performances and installations for art, fashion and music.