Melbourne’s MPavilion lights up for sunset ritual

Melbourne’s 2015 MPavilion has been designed by AL_A, the studio of Stirling Prize–winning architect Amanda Levete. Unfolding nightly throughout MPavilion’s 2015 season, Sunset Ritual is a collaboration between Matthias Schack-Arnott of Sound Percussion, architect Amanda Levete and lighting designer Ben Cobham of bluebottle.

Founded in 2014, MPavilion is a unique architecture commission and design event for Melbourne, initiated by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government.

Every year for four years, an outstanding architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens, in the centre of Melbourne’s Southbank Arts Precinct.

An event hub, a meeting place and an invitation to experiment, each MPavilion brings creative collaborators together to present a free, four-month program of talks, workshops and performances from October to February.

“At AL_A, we have a long history of working with boat builders, and Australia has some of the finest. We’ve worked with a nautical fabricator to employ the boundary-pushing technology of composite materials to create the canopy, which is made up of a number of seemingly fragile, translucent petals supported by impossibly slender columns that gently sway in the breeze,” says Amanda Levete.

As the sun sets each night, AL_A’s gently swaying MPavilion will perform its own evening ritual. Installed where the structure’s roof petals and carbon-fibre poles meet, LEDs will create scattered halos of light, synchronised to an immersive sound piece created by Matthias Schack-Arnott of Sound Percussion, performed by the building itself. Gloamer, a new six-channel work for resonant metallic percussion instruments and sine tones, is based on a detailed analysis of the overtone structures of thirty-two gongs and cymbals, and employs gestural microphone techniques to create shifting patterns in resonance.

Picture: John Gollings