Thursday Salute to Originals: Wood Tessellations

Bowed wooden pavilions fill a gallery space in Melbourne.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees reimagine traditional Japanese Joinery in a new, large-scale installation titled “Botanical Pavilion” — on display as part of the 2020 NGV Triennial.

The Japanese-style construction is made of interlocking slats of wood that are self-supporting. The resulting tessellation arches in a scaly pattern with tiny holes to allow light to shine through. While the shapes and color-sorted arrangements are contemporary, the traditional Joinery is quite apparent.

The wooden structure’s raw materials are sourced from trees that fell during Australia’s Millennium Draught. Much of the timber used predates European colonization of the continent. The diverse wood species are grouped by color rather than scientific category, a careful critique of colonialism designed to pay homage to indigenous cultures.

“By prioritizing natural phenomena over scientific order, the designers call into question the reductive nature of science during the colonial era, a mindset at odds with many Indigenous cultural beliefs and knowledge systems,” read a statement at the 2020 NVG Triennial.

This Thursday, we’re saluting Kengo Kuma and Geoff Nees contemporary, large-scale wood sculpture. You can follow both Kuma’s and Nees’s upcoming projects on Instagram.

“Botanical Pavillion” will be on display through April 2021.

Sources: Kengo Duma, Geoff Nees, This is Colossal