For the 2017 Serpentine Pavilion, Diébédo Francis Kéré and his studio realized “a community structure within Kensington Gardens that fuses cultural references of Francis’ home country Burkina Faso with experimental construction techniques.”
Kéré’s team works across continents from Africa to Europe, using local materials, local knowledge, and local technologies to create holistic and sustainable design solutions. “We believe that architecture can be a vehicle for collective expression and empowerment, which is why we work closely with local communities in all phases of design from planning to construction. By supporting the educational, cultural, and civic needs of local communities with provocative and dignifying design, we will continue to raise awareness towards the sustainable and economic issues facing populations in rural Africa and beyond.”
In a recent movie for the Serpentine Pavilion press review, Francis said: “The pavilion that I was commission to do is inspired by a tree…Where I come from in Burkina Faso, a tree is often a public space. It can be a kindergarten, it can be a market – a gathering place for everyone.” The wooden block are a indigo blue that has another special meaning: in his culture blue is the colour of celebration – “If you had an important date in my village in pastimes, there was one piece of clothing everyone was going to ask for. So when I got the commission for the pavilion here in London I said: I am going to wear my best dress, my best colour, and it is blue.” The strips of lights on the canopy are inspired by his childhood, when in Burkina Faso, with no electricity, young people gathered on elevated points to look for light; the pavilion will be shining at night to attract young people and visitors “to come and celebrate”.
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