MPavilion 2021, envisioned by Venice-based international architecture, urbanism and design practice, MAP studio as an ‘urban lighthouse’, has opened in Melbourne.

The seventh MPavilion in an ongoing series, The Light Catcher by MAP studio architects Francesco Magnani and Traudy Pelzel features a geometric, kaleidoscopic design and will host MPavilion’s diverse program of free cultural events over the summer.

The Venetian architectural studio is renowned for responding to existing sites in a sensitive and celebratory way, an approach that is especially poignant as MPavilion 2021 returns to its original home in the Queen Victoria Gardens.

Appearing to float above the ground on a coloured rubber surface, MAP studio’s pavilion is composed of a reticular steel structure in galvanised and painted tubular profiles that support a set of panels in a mirror-finish aluminium coating, reflecting light, colours, activities and people who will use the space. The panels will also function partially as shading elements. Covering a total area of 144 square metres, the pavilion features a three-dimensional mesh and contains a hollow space of 64 square metres inside.

“The structure... is a kind of lantern that in its geometric abstraction wants to qualify as an urban lighthouse that illuminates and hosts the community cultural activities planned for the 2021 summer season in Melbourne. For all these reasons we imagined that the pavilion could be called ‘The Light Catcher’,” the architects said in a statement.

“We have followed the sensitive, deeply site-responsive work of MAP studio for some time, and couldn’t be more excited to see their pavilion spring to life in our first season back in the Queen Victoria Gardens,” said MPavilion founder, Naomi Milgrom AC. “In helping to re-establish and strengthen architectural dialogues between Melbourne and the rest of the world in the wake of the pandemic, this partnership with MAP studio is a great source of pride and celebration for the Naomi Milgrom Foundation and MPavilion.”

“As an open-access, democratic space, MPavilion performs the crucial role of inviting people from all walks of life to engage in conversations around design, architecture and culture, and take an active part in the meaningful development of their own civic spaces,” Magnani and Pelzel commented.

“MAP studio is honoured to play such an important role in the cultural life of Melbourne and the reanimation of its city centre after lockdown. We thank the Naomi Milgrom Foundation for this wonderful opportunity to reopen the channels of creative exchange between our cities,” the architects added.

At the close of each season, the MPavilion is gifted by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation to the people of Victoria and relocated to a new, permanent home, where it can be engaged by the community.

MPavilion’s 2021/22 season of free events will continue until 24 April 2022 at the Queen Victoria Gardens, Southbank Arts Precinct.