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M Pavilion: a private venture with public vision

M Pavilion is Melbourne’s newest cultural destination. It may be small in size, but already it’s left a lasting impression. Alice Blackwood attended the official opening ceremony earlier this week.

M Pavilion: a private venture with public vision


October 7th, 2014



It was an overcast and cold morning for the Monday morning launch of M Pavilion in Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne, but the weather held long enough for the speeches to be made and the much talked-about cultural clubhouse to be revealed.

Sean Godsell Architects is the creative hand behind this architectural ‘Spiegeltent’. At the media launch earlier this week Godsell liberally praised his courageous client and benefactor of the project, Naomi Milgrom of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation (NMF), for allowing him the opportunity to build something so beautiful.



Unfolding from its tight ‘jewel-box’ like architectural form, M Pavilion lifted its walled wings to reveal a communal platform where local press and photographers gathered alongside Godsell, Milgrom and Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, to experience the first moments of what will be a 4-month public cultural program.

Milgrom described M Pavilion as being a cultural “conductor”, a physical platform which “will reinforce Melbourne’s standing as a global leader in design and architecture”.

“I was inspired by London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion and have sought to take this idea further by adding a robust cultural program that celebrates design, architecture and creativity in our city,” said Milgrom.

Taking the stage briefly, Godsell commented on the fact that much of the world’s great architecture would not be in existence were in not for great benefactors – the Medici family being a prime historical example. A more contemporary case in point might be the new Tadao Ando-designed arts centre at Palazzo Grassi, commissioned by luxury goods tycoon François Pinault.



As such, M Pavilion stands as an example of something quite beautiful and quite local that has been brought to life by Milgrom’s personal vision, and adopted by the city as its own. Now, in a public/private partnership with the City of Melbourne and the Victorian State Government, the NMF will fund the design and construction of at least 4 annual temporary pavilions in the Gardens – to be presented across spring and summer each year.

The first instalment is just a little bit magical: “Conceived as architecture that ‘blooms like a flower’ each day and opens to its audience, it also has a mysterious box-like quality at night,” said Godsell of the design.


“The MPavilion is a simple steel structure with glazed roof and fully automated outer skin. It provides shade and shelter and filters the sun. Its precedent can be seen on distant hills and far horizons in the Australian outback.”

Truly a fitting symbol for what will quickly become a memorable Australian architectural site, and a cultural destination for the local community and visitors to the city.



Explore the M Pavilion cultural program here.

M Pavilion

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