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The Colour Palace is revealed

A partnership between Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture

‘The Colour Palace’ has been unveiled as the second edition of the Dulwich Pavilion at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The outcome of an open design competition organised by Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture, The Colour Palace serves as a temporary outdoor structure for summer 2019, gracing the lawns outside Sir John Soane’s iconic gallery.

A full press pack including plans and photography by Adam Scott is available here.

This summer, the London Festival of Architecture explores ‘boundaries’ while Dulwich Picture Gallery celebrates ‘innovation’. These themes converge in The Colour Palace; a riotous, bold  architectural fusion that crosses boundaries between cultural traditions, integrating art and  architecture. The innovative timber structure is a feat of engineering using just one  small size of timber with all the joints on show revealing the craftsmanship and structural logic. For Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Colour Palace will act as a versatile public space that will be used for a variety of creative activities for visitors of all ages – from ‘Pavilion Lates’ to neon life drawing, supper clubs, storytelling and yoga – throughout the summer.  For the London Festival of Architecture, the project is an important opportunity to celebrate London’s vibrant architectural scene and to support exciting, fresh, design talent.

Pricegore and Yinka Ilori’s Colour Palace is a testament to universal themes of colour, pattern and celebration. The design finds parallels between African and European cultures to create a building  that reflects the diverse, cultural experience of south east London. The Pavilion draws on many shared traditions of geometry and pattern in architecture, and the common solution of raising  storage buildings on staddle stones.

Raised on monumental feet, the lightweight structure is assembled from thousands of individual pieces of hand-painted timber. The combination of these elements creates facades of bold geometric pattern that shift and merge according to viewpoint recalling the fabric markets of Lagos, Nigeria.

Internally, the Pavilion resembles a small theatre-in-the-round, and visitors can climb to a perimeter gantry held within the depth of the slender structure. The squat volume of the Pavilion is informed by the cubic composition of Soane’s Grade II* listed  Dulwich Picture Gallery, next to which it sits in close and contrasting proximity.

About the team

Pricegore are an emerging architecture practice led by Dingle Price & Alex Gore who established their office in nearby Peckham 5 years ago. Situating each project within broader narratives of architectural and cultural history, their designs are collaborative and research based,  leading to unexpected but relevant buildings. Yinka Ilori is a London-based multidisciplinary  artist of British-Nigerian heritage, who specialises in storytelling by fusing his heritage in order to tell new stories in contemporary design.

The partnership overcame fierce competition from a field of 150 entries to win the competition, which was judged by a panel of leading architectural and cultural figures including Tom Dyckhoff (writer and broadcaster), Mary Duggan (founder, Mary Duggan Architects) and Oliver Wainwright (architecture and design critic, The Guardian). Members of the public visiting the gallery in June 2018 were also given the opportunity to have their say on the shortlisted designs.

The project builds on the success of the first ever Dulwich Pavilion in 2017 - After Image by IF_DO - which was one of the highlights of that year’s London Festival of Architecture and the Gallery’s bicentenary year. As well as helping the Gallery to overcome space constraints, attract new audiences and broaden its appeal to a wider demographic, the Pavilion achieved critical acclaim and won multiple awards. The project was also transformational IF_DO: their first competition win resulted in global exposure, leading to a series of exciting new commissions that have enabled the practice to triple in size.

The Colour Palace opens to the public on 12 June and will remain open until 22 September. It is intended that the demountable Pavilion will have a future life after its time in Dulwich, and The Modern House are working with Dulwich Picture Gallery to handle sales enquiries.

Dingle Price and Alex Gore said:

“The brief for the Dulwich Pavilion demanded a celebratory response to John Soane’s outstanding historic architecture, and having Yinka as part of the Colour Palace design team has really helped us to achieve that. The Colour Palace has been a wonderful opportunity for us to design our first prominent civic building - alongside our exciting housing projects we hope it will lead to further  civic and cultural projects and the chance to work with great clients like Dulwich Picture Gallery.”

Yinka Ilori said:

“The beauty of the Pavilion’s design is that that it stands bold and proud surrounded by the history Sir John Soane’s iconic building, celebrating history and culture. Its patterns and shapes calmly welcome you from a distance until you get closer and closer, and you’re blown away with an explosion of colour that immediately demands your attention. I’m so excited to see how people react to The Colour Palace and how it will bring people from different cultures and communities together. I’m hoping to see people arrive and leave with a smile on their faces – what could be better for summer!”

Tamsie Thomson, Director of the London Festival of Architecture, said:

“I’m thrilled to finally see The Colour Palace: from the moment we first saw Pricegore and Yinka Ilori’s proposals we knew it would be something special. As one of the highlights of the 2019 London Festival of Archiecture, this amazing project is the embodiment of what happens when you transcend architectural and artistic boundaries, and I’m looking forward to spending time there alongside thousands of people this summer.”

Jennifer Scott, The Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, said:

“The Colour Palace is a joyful expression of everything that great art and architecture can be – fresh, exciting and inviting. The 2017 Pavilion introduced new visitors to Dulwich Picture Gallery  as well as championing emerging architectural talent. We are thrilled to be partnering with the London Festival of Architecture for a second time to create this distinctive summer destination.”

The Colour Palace is a partnership between Dulwich Picture Gallery and the London Festival of Architecture. We are grateful for the generosity of our many sponsors and donors who made the project happen, including the Arts Council England, Mylands, and Gosnells of London, and an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign organised with Art Fund.