(All)zone's MPavilion Opens in Melbourne

John Hill
13. December 2022
Photo: John Gollings

Last week's opening comes six months after (all)zone was selected to design this summer's iteration of the temporary MPavilion and four months after images of their design — a colorful fabric and net canopy — were revealed. The selection of the Bangkok firm led by Rachaporn Choochuey and the opening of their MPavilion coincide with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Thai-Australian diplomatic relations. Festivities around that anniversary were held at the MPavilion the weekend after the December 8 opening, focused on "champion[ing] Thai architecture, design, art and culture in collaboration with the Royal Thai Embassy and the Thai Australian Chamber," per a statement from the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, which launched MPavilion in 2014.

Photo: John Gollings
"When I first met Rachaporn and her design team, I quickly realised that we shared goals of harnessing architecture and design to make the world a better place for the future. Focused on solutions for upcycling and reusing buildings, sites and materials, (all)zone’s lightweight interventions complement MPavilion’s vision of fostering dialogue on how design and architecture can help create better cities for the people who live in them."

Naomi Milgrom, founder of Naomi Milgrom Foundation and commissioner of the MPavilion

Photo: John Gollings

Like most of the seven preceding pavilions* built in Queen Victoria Gardens, (all)zone's design focuses on the roof as a means of providing shelter but also as a design statement. The canopy is made of three layers: fishing nets at the outermost layer; an intermediate STFE membrane supplied by French manufacturer Serge Ferrari (the company also supplied the fabric for Glenn Murcutt's tensile canopy in 2019); and a bottom layer that features "a waffle of colored fabric that moves with the breeze and filters light." The Foundation's statement also indicates that the middle layer is notably the first time STFE technology has been used in Australia. As seen in the photographs here, the lighting design carried out by Bluebottle greatly impacts the coloring of the canopy and the presence of the pavilion in the park.

Photo: John Gollings
"Working on the MPavilion project with so many talented individuals has been an incredible journey. MPavilion is special because even though it’s called a temporary pavilion, it’s actually even more complex than a building.We focused on how the MPavilion would accommodate lots of different activities, and the engineering and manufacturing has been a huge step forward for us in understanding the possibilities of fabric-based architecture."

Rachaporn Choochuey

Photo: John Gollings

*Although (all)zone's contribution is billed as the ninth MPavilion, that numbering includes the 2020 iteration held in the midst of the pandemic, when events took place in a downtown Melbourne parking garage and therefore a pavilion was not built. The preceding MPavilions were designed by MAP Studio (2021), Glenn Murcutt (2019), Carme Pinós (2018), OMA partners Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotten (2017), Bijoy Jain (2016), Amanda Levete (2015) and Sean Godsell (2014).

Photo: John Gollings

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