Therme Group: Announcing Junya Ishigami
To mark the second anniversary of its global art initiative Therme Art Program, Therme Group is pleased to announce the acquisition of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami.
London, October 4, 2019—To mark the second anniversary of its global art initiative Therme Art Program, Therme Group is pleased to announce the acquisition of the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion designed by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami. The announcement follows Therme Group’s acquisition of Mexican architect Frida Escobedo’s 2018 Serpentine Pavilion, establishing Therme Group’s second consecutive year in partnership with Serpentine Galleries to support its annual architecture commissions.
The acquisition was announced at the Serpentine Galleries’ Frieze breakfast, on the occasion of the opening of Frieze London. The event featured remarks by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director, and Mikolaj Sekutowicz, Curator of Therme Art Program and Vice President of Therme Group, who commented: “It has become incredibly important to merge nature and human architecture to overcome the environmental challenges our civilization is currently facing. As a company, we are actively searching for solutions to challenges in architectural design and city planning through art. Ishigami’s design for this year’s Pavilion responds to these challenges, approaching solutions through the artistic and conceptual freedom provided by Serpentine Galleries.”
Ishigami’s design for the 2019 Serpentine Pavilion consists of a complex arrangement of slates, forming a single canopy that appears to emerge straight from the earth on which it stands. In keeping with Therme Group’s philosophy to reconnect nature and our built environment, Ishigami’s design highlights the importance of reconsidering the role of architecture as not only as a physical entity, but also as a crucial arbiter of culture, connection, and spirituality.
To celebrate its second year in operation, Therme Art Program hosted a special event for partners, supporters, and staff at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The evening included remarks from Mikolaj Sekutowicz and Robert C. Hanea, who highlighted the program’s numerous achievements to date. Key to the work of Therme Art Program is the commissioning of large-scale, long-term art projects for its esteemed thermal baths—challenging the limitations of conventional exhibition spaces and redefining contemporary art viewing. The inaugural commission—an immersive, site-specific artwork courtesy of acclaimed Icelandic artist Egill Sæbjörnsson was announced in December 2017.
Over the last two years, Therme Art Program has become a key partner of the British Council. In September 2018, it supported the British Council at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, marking this with the discussion Free Future Cities. In May 2019, Therme Art Program was pleased to again partner with the British Council in its support of Cathy Wilkes’s exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale.
Therme Art Program is also a key partner of Serpentine Galleries, and a proud supporter of the Serpentine Pavilion program. In late 2018, Therme Art Program announced its acquisition of Frida Escobedo’s Serpentine Pavilion, which was followed by its acquisition of Junya Ishigami’s Pavilion in October 2019. In cooperation with Pace and artist collective Studio Drift, in December 2018 Therme Group embarked on a project to bring Franchise Freedom, the renowned drone sculpture by Studio Drift, on a worldwide tour. In July 2019, Therme Art Program proudly supported its first flight of 2019 as part of 50th anniversary celebrations of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar landing, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Therme Art Program has partnered consistently with Design Miami/. At the 2018 Miami edition, it supported the talks program, held three highly successful discussions as part of Therme Forum, and enabled the creation of Francis Kéré’s Tugunora, which acted as the setting for the talks program. In June 2019, Therme Art Program hosted another Therme Forum, The City of Artists – Cities Between Crisis, Catharsis and Creation, during Design Miami/ Basel in Basel.
“Junya Ishigami’s Serpentine Pavilion beautifully articulates the architect’s ‘free space’ philosophy in which he seeks harmony between man-made structures and those that already exist in nature. His gravity-defying ‘slate roof’ has welcomed thousands of visitors to the park this summer to enjoy both the space itself and the many live and experimental performances that are programmed especially for the space as part of our annual Cos x Serpentine Park Nights series. It is exciting to imagine its future life in a new environment”—Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries
Cover image: Serpentine Pavilion 2019 Designed by Junya Ishigami, Serpentine Gallery, London (21 June – 6 October 2019), © Junya Ishigami + Associates, Photography © 2019 Iwan Baan.