The Exhibition Road Courtyard at London’s V&A museum is playing host to a brightly colored pavilion, which has been designed by architect Shahed Saleem as as a tribute to the holy month of Ramadan.
Instantly visible from the street, the pavilion features a structure inspired by the design of mosques built across Britain between the 1960s to present day. Doused in bright colors, its sections are crafted as a “hybrid composition of parts”, in reference to the collaborative nature in which the places of worship have been created by the country’s Muslim communities. Saleem adds:
“The more I looked at mosques across the country the more I saw buildings that defied all notions of convention and taste, usually self-designed and built by highly marginalized and economically deprived communities. In this, I saw great resilience, determination, and inventiveness. These communities were creating new architectural meanings by drawing from their own lived experience and according to their own rules.”
Inspired, and after years of exploration and observation, he began to create maquettes and sketches that eventually led to the pavilion’s final form. Throughout the process, he also looked to prints and photographs within the V&A’s collections; the first mosque-like structure in Britain, built by architect Sir William Chambers at Kew Gardens in the 18th Century; and the ways in which Islamic history is reinterpreted through architectural symbols.
Saleem’s design has been brought to life in collaboration with the Ramadan Tent Project, which for a decade has brought people together through its annual Ramadan Festival and flagship initiative Open Iftar. To mark the organization’s 10th anniversary this year, it launched the yearly Ramadan Pavilion project with Saleem’s design selected as the first iteration. “The Ramadan Pavilion is designed to serve not only as a physical structure and installation which inspires visitors connected to Islamic arts and architecture, but also a space for millions of visitors to engage, celebrate and learn about Islam, Ramadan, Muslim history, culture, and heritage,” added Omar Salha, Founder and Chief Executive of the Ramadan Tent Project.
The Ramadan Pavilion will play host to a series of curated events, performances, and workshops until May 1. Take a look at the program here, and for more design news – take a look at the “Lucid Side Tables” designed by Lumière Bricoleur and TABLEAU.
Victoria and Albert Museum
London SW7 2RL