The Colour Palace: Boundaries & Innovation

Pricegore | Yinka Ilori

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 the London Festival of Architecture and Dulwich Picture Gallery, the Colour Palace serves as a temporary outdoor structure for summer 2019, gracing the lawns outside Sir John Soane’s iconic gallery.

The London Festival of Architecture celebrates ‘boundaries’, while Dulwich Picture Gallery celebrates ‘innovation’. These themes converge in the Colour Palace: a riotous architectural fusion that blurs 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 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. 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.

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 straddle stones.

Raised on monumental feet, the lightweight pavilion is assembled from thousands of individual pieces of hand-painted timber. The combination of these elements creates layered façades 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 proximity.