If the LANDMARK by Lexus pavilion has previously been about electrifying the senses, more recently Lexus Australia stepped out of the fast lane with a highly curated, slowed-down approach.
January 15th, 2024
It was all part of the pavilion’s theme this year – close to the source – which played out in a variety of ways, starting with Koichi Takada Architects.
Takada returned this year with perhaps an even richer, lush exterior response to Joost Bakker’s original pavilion structure, dressing its three levels in cascading greenery draped over multiple split-level awnings, featuring a rich display of Japanese and Australian native landscapes.
Terraced like rice fields, the curved awnings softened the angular lines of the base building, echoing the greenery of Flemington Racecourse’s front strait and creating an impressive statement as the first pavilion upon entry to the Birdcage Enclosure.
Inside, each level reflected three distinct experiences – Source, Cultivate and Harvest – with six key collaborators expressing the theme through their work: chef Luke Mangan, mixologist Priscilla Leong, florist Katie Marx, ceramicist Sam Gordon, coffee makers St Remio, and furniture duo Laker, by Henry Wilson and David Caon.
For Henry Wilson at Studio Henry Wilson, it was his second time in the pavilion. His iconic wall sconces were backlit beautifully in the dining room and within the stair.
But it was his first appearance under the experimental furniture brand he co-directs with fellow designer David Caon at Caon Design Office.
“Laker is an explorative design business,” Wilson says. “It’s the kind of space where we effectively join our minds and resources on projects we don’t have the capacity for in our practices but are fun things we want to work on together.”
Related: Koichi Takada on the 2023 Pavilion
Their work was showcased at the rear of the dining room area comprising two large eight-seater dining tables and ‘Alpine’ chairs to match.
The chairs are a ‘naïve’ riff on traditional workshop chairs of the Tyrolean region in Austria, which Laker first designed in 2021 only making and selling them in Sydney in limited numbers to interested people.
“There’s four stick legs and a seat pad that’s timber and then a backrest that crudely sticks into the back of the seat,” Wilson says.
For LANDMARK at Lexus, the duo designed and made each of the solid American walnut chairs locally in Melbourne, and then began to look around to create a table or two to accompany them.
“We came up with this idea of using componentry, and how we would have our materials come together – that’s fascinating in its own right,” he says.
Again, they found their components and three core materials in Melbourne, with the tables comprising a timber top, acrylic cylinder and a polished aluminium base, connected by one visible central fixing.
Beyond their use in the pavilion, the furniture was designed to be returned and put into other Laker projects, rather than being stored away for future years.
“It’s nice to be able to put high-quality pieces in the pavilion. That’s great for us in terms of general sustainability, because we’ve made them as actual production pieces,” Wilson says.
Complemented by Katie Marx’s ethereal floral arrangements, including purple-dyed rope strung from upended tulip posies and bees buzzing amongst garden beds on the deck, the pavilion created many unexpected – and delightfully sunny – moments from floor to roof.
Koichi Takada Architects
Tom Blachford, Magner Media
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