Best design of pop-up art pavilion will win $20,000

Top team for pop-up structure at Marina Bay for art next year will win $20,000

Abig fat carrot awaits the winning design for a pop-up pavilion planned for The Lawn at Marina Bay next year, which will house about 45 artworks. The team behind the best design will pocket $20,000 - the biggest architecture prize for designing a pavilion here.

The inaugural OUE Artling ArchiPavilion Design Competition is the brainchild of The Artling, an online art gallery and art consultancy based here, which is organising the event with the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA).

Ms Talenia Phua Gajardo, 30, founder and director of The Artling, says holding a design competition is more interesting than commissioning someone to design the structure.

The Singaporean, who graduated with a degree in arts, design and environment with a major in architecture from London's Central Saint Martins in 2007, says: "It isn't just a structure to house art. It will be art and design under one roof."

Indeed, to give younger firms a chance, the competition allows only entries from Singapore- incorporated architectural practices founded since 2004, with at least one partner or director who is a member of SIA. This means that artists and designers without a background in architecture must pair up with a firm familiar with the industry here.

SIA's president Theodore Chan says: "It's a good chance to let younger, unknown architects catapult into the limelight. At the same time, they can have fun with the concept and show off their aesthetics. The pavilion can even be a work of art."

The 8,000 sq ft pavilion is slated to be built during next year's Formula One season in September, to tap on the event's high visitorship. It will also tie in with the third anniversary of the contemporary arts cluster at Gillman Barracks. It will be up for about two to three weeks and admission will be free.

Ms Phua Gajardo says: "One reason we want to have an art pavilion is to bring art to the city, beyond the usual art clusters such as Gillman Barracks."

The winning design will be picked by a team of illustrious judges, including lead advisory judge David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect behind the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway; renowned art historian and curator Savita Apte; and Mr Chan.

Ms Phua Gajardo, who is also on the judging panel, is sourcing for funding for the pavilion, which is expected to cost about $350,000 to build. Some of the funding has already been secured in kind.

Prizes are in store for other top designs too. The second-prize winner gets $10,000, the third receives $5,000, while five projects will get an honourable mention and $1,000 each. Prizes are from OUE, a real estate owner, developer and operator.

Submissions close on Dec 23 and the winning models and designs will be displayed at the National Design Centre in Middle Road from Feb 12 to 27.

Unlike other art fairs where galleries set up their own booths, the artworks at the pavilion will be hung salon-style where they take up space from floor to ceiling, and are hung near each other. Most of them will be for sale, while the rest will be from private collections. All the pieces will be curated by Ms Apte.

The design brief also includes a private VIP dining room for about 30 people, a champagne bar, a book corner and auction room for a standing audience.

A key design requirement is that the pavilion must be easy to assemble and dismantle, so that it can be moved to different locations around the city.

Ms Phua Gajardo says: "We've put in so much effort to get it designed and built. I think we can be creative and use it again and minimise wastage. It can be like a 'travelling shell' for other exhibitions."

She hopes the pavilion will become an iconic structure for Singapore. Citing as an example the Serpentine Gallery in London, whose summer pavilion is designed by a leading architect each year, she says: "The Serpentine Gallery pavilion has become well-known and people look forward to seeing it each year. I think this would be something unique for Singapore and we can look forward to a new structure every year."

natashaz@sph.com.sg

For more information on the design competition,go to theartling.com/pavilion/