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The MPavilion 2017 designed by Netherlands-based architects Rem Koolhaas & David Gianotten of OMA
Credit: Courtesy of OMA

There’s an uncanny similarity between the set of Prada’s Spring 2018 Menswear show, unveiled yesterday, and the design for the 2017 MPavilion revealed today by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation.

The scenography of the former, at Milan’s Fondazione Prada, told a story within a story inspired by the fragmented lines of graphic novels, one that conflated fantasy and reality. At the latter, another (arguably outdated) forum for storytelling – an ancient amphitheatre – has been given a drastic update through a blurring of the lines between inside and outside, audience and performer, all under a grid-like floating roof not dissimilar from the panels of a graphic illustration. 

Discerning similarities between the two requires no great stretch of the imagination, of course. Both were designed by OMA (and, in the case of Prada, OMA’s research and design studio, AMO), the Netherlands-based architecture firm founded by Pritzker-prize winning architect Rem Koolhaas and partners in 1975. Completed alongside one of OMA’s nine firm partners, David Gianotten, the MPavilion design has been commissioned as part of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s ongoing commitment to erect a temporary structure each year in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Gardens, providing a space for public debate, events and workshops in design, music, art and performance. 

The structure, which is slated to open in October and will house an eclectic program of free public events until February 2018, marks the first time OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture) and Koolhaas, a professor at Harvard University, have broken ground in Australia. The design is comprised of a circular amphitheatre with two tiered grandstands (one fixed, one pivoting to open the space up) enveloped by a hill of twelve different species of native plants, above which floats the two-metre deep, floating and translucent canopy made of aluminium-clad steel and able to be activated in line with the event taking place beneath it.

In a first for the annual cultural symposium, the MPavilion program are asking design industry professionals and students to submit proposals to contribute to the events and activities during the season, commencing on October 3 this year. You can find out more information here.

Tile and cover image: Courtesy of OMA

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