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Opening in late 2020 and running until April the following year, the National Gallery of Victoria held its Trienniel Exhibition – a showcase that aims to bring contemporary art, design and architecture into dialogue, offering a visually arresting and thought-provoking view of the world at the time. Unique across the world, the NGV Triennial presents globally significant projects which demonstrate the extraordinary intersection between contemporary art, design and architecture.

For the 2020 edition of the Triennial, world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Melbourne based artist Geoffrey Nees responded to the philosophical nature of Korean artist Lee Ufan’s painting (Dialogue 2017) through the creation of a new architectural installation – the Botanical Pavilion… and that’s where we came in.

Throughout the fabrication and installation of the Botanical Pavilion, we captured some behind-the-scenes footage of how the project came together – from CNC machining the individual pieces, to putting it all together in the gallery. Watch below…

Made in the Japanese tradition of wooden architecture, where pieces interlock, held by tension and gravity, the Botanical Pavilion features a sublime tessellated interior lined with timber collected from trees felled or removed during the Millennium drought at Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Some of the trees used within predate European colonisation, while others signal the evolution of the gardens as a site of scientific research and botanical classification.

Commissioned by the NGV Triennial, the pavilion gently curves inwards and opens up at both ends, taking visitors inside where they explore the use of timber as a structural component. The piece offers a site for contemplation, reminding us of our relationships to nature and one another. As a sensory experience, the Botanical Pavilion is also a walkway through which to approach and contemplate the work of Lee Ufan.

“We're really delighted with the results at the end of the day because it re-affirmed that mantra that we consistently speak about – it's with the right approach and with the right skills set across the business that we're able to be really adaptable with what projects we can get involved in and deliver.”

Howard McCorkellDirector, McCorkell Constructions

The Botanical Pavilion is still on display at the National Gallery of Victoria until 30th January, 2022. Plan your visit here.

Photography: Earl Carter
Video: Video Loma

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