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MPavilion 2016 designed by Indian architect Bijoy Jain launches
MPavilion 2016 Side Exterior View. Image credit John Gollings.

MELBOURNE.- MPavilion 2016 designed by Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai opened today in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens. Initiated and commissioned by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation with support from City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government, MPavilion 2016 is the third annual architect-designed summer pavilion for Melbourne. With hundreds of creative collaborators, MPavilion presents a free, four-month public program of over 400 talks, workshops, performances and installations from October to February.

MPavilion 2016 was officially opened by MPavilion founder, Naomi Milgrom AO, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Indian High Commissioner Naydeep Suri and MPavilion architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai and commemorated by a live performance by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham and leading Indian musician Dr Aneesh Pradhan.

MPavilion 2016 is part of an international movement in handmade architecture and uses 7km of bamboo, 50t of stone and 26km of rope to create an extraordinary 16.8m square summer pavilion for Melbourne. Encapsulating Jain’s ongoing interest in traditional craftsmanship and human connectedness, the pavilion sits on a bluestone floor sourced from a quarry in Port Fairy, Victoria. Bamboo poles imported from India especially for the MPavilion are pegged together with 5,000 wooden pins and lashed together with rope. Slatted panels that form the MPavilion roof are constructed from sticks from the Karvi plant woven together by craftspeople in India over four months.

MPavilion’s design features an opening at the centre of the roof that Bijoy Jain sees as connecting earth to sky and below sits a golden well symbolising the importance of water to place and community. An elaborate ‘tazia’ entrance tower, as used in Indian ceremonies, sits next to the pavilion as a welcoming gesture.

MPavilion features lighting design by Ben Cobham of Bluebottle. Activated at twilight every night, the pavilion will be lit in-synch with a specially commissioned nightly soundscape by artists Geoff Nees and J David Franzke.

Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai commented: “MPavilion is a space for the people of Melbourne to gather, talk, think and to reflect. My objective has not just been to create a new building, but to capture the spirit of the place by choosing the right materials, respecting the surrounding nature and working collaboratively with local craftspeople to share design and construction ideas.”

“I’m extremely grateful to Naomi Milgrom and the Foundation for giving Studio Mumbai the opportunity to collaborate on such an exciting commission.”

The MPavilion 2016 design employs handcrafted Indian construction methods, refined in collaboration with a team of Australian builders from Kane Construction who travelled to Mumbai to take part in Jain’s collaborative and intuitive approach to design and construction.

Naomi Milgrom AO, Chair of Naomi Milgrom Foundation who commissioned Bijoy Jain to design MPavilion 2016 commented: “Bijoy’s handcrafted MPavilion is a calming and thoughtful space which will inspire the people of Melbourne. As a utopian space for the creative industry and community, MPavilion continues to challenge the way we see and engage with the world by encouraging design debate and cultural exchange.”

The MPavilion 2016 program is presented free to the public from 5 October 2016 to 18 February 2017 and features more than 400 public events with more than 300 collaborators, including 32 education and cultural organisations from Melbourne and around the world. MPavilion 2016 opens as part of the Melbourne Festival and Confluence: Festival of India and will participate in events such as the new Asia-Pacific Triennial of Performing Arts (Asia TOPA), Melbourne Music Week, White Night and the India Leadership Summit through the popular MTalks, MMeets, MMusic, MProjects and MKids event series.

Opening MPavilion’s 2016 program is a free public ‘in conversation’ hosted by architect Peter Maddison with MPavilion creator Naomi Milgrom and architect Bijoy Jain. Presented at MPavilion on Thursday 6 October at 6.15pm, the trio will discuss MPavilion 2016’s vision for cultural exchange and the collective construction process. This talk coincides with a special exhibition of Bijoy Jain’s design process at RMIT Gallery from 9 September to 22 October.

Open every day from 9am to 4pm throughout MPavilion’s season is an onsite kiosk by Three Thousand Thieves which will feature a Melbourne-focused menu offering some of this city’s best specialty coffee, food and beverages. Amongst the offerings includes a selection of artisan coffee, T2, Capi, Shadowfax wines, Melbour ne Gin Company, Koko Black, Yarra Valley Diary and Sneakyboy Sweets. MPavilion onsite staff will be fitted-out in a specially designed outfit by Australian designers Perks and Mini (P.A.M.).

MPavilion 2016 is designed as both a temporary summer pavilion and an enduring architectural creation. At the end of the MPavilion 2016/17 season, the MPavilion will be gifted by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to the City of Melbourne and relocated to a permanent home within the city.

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