A cluster of mirrors and chain mail has arrived in the garden outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery, in the venue’s first ever events pavilion.

Designed by the architecture practice IF_DO, and constructed in nearby Peckham, the temporary summer pavilion is South London’s answer to its more famous counterpart in Hyde Park.

A ladies veil made of chain mail is draped around a roof that is held up by large sheets clad in mirrors that create a mini funfair maze, without the funny distortions.

In fact, only a few of the mirrors are structural, and they can be moved around to create new layouts, presumably for evenings where the pavilion is expected to host visitors, but the English summer is unfavourable.

Although described by the architects as being a way of helping galleries to overcome a lack of space, what the pavilion isn’t, is a space to display art, although there are enough moveable panels to create a temporary box, which will let them host talks and discussions in a mirror lined room.

Being an event pavilion, one mirror’d block conceals the bar, which can be pulled out when needed, sating the commercial need that affects how museums have to operate today.

But it does offer a very family friendly hall of mirrors that will be very instagramable, and for those of us who look in the mirror at home and sigh at their diet, careful walking to avoid unsettling side profiles.

However, if you stand further back and let the park reflect in the mirrors, it leaves the roof floating in the air seemingly unsupported by anything, which is a more pleasing effect.

The Dulwich Pavilion will be free to visit until 8th October, with free themed Friday Lates in June and July including admission to the Permanent Collection. The Pavilion Bar will be run by the team behind The Camberwell Arms.


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