Stonehenge inspires a pavilion with purpose
“Entering stone circles is a magical experience and a very physical one, which allows us to connect to something outside of time”
“It’s inspired by the more than 1,300 prehistoric stone circles and monuments that are scattered across Britain, Ireland and Brittany,” says Alan Stanton, principal director of architecture practice Stanton Williams on his pavilion design 'Henge'. Working with LSI Stone and Webb Yates in collaboration with experimentadesign agency, the project creates a gathering space. Stanton's references include one of the UK's best known stone circles: “The Stone Circle of Stonehenge, in the Wiltshire countryside, whose history spans over 4,500 years and which, still today, continues to be one of the most magic, spiritual and awe-inspiring places in the world.”
Here, Stanton shares how 'Henge' invites us to readjust and reset in the heart of London.
How would you describe 'Henge' as an experience?
These ancient monuments are typically very simple structures, but incredibly sophisticated in terms of their design, particularly given the technology available at the time. A Herculean effort would have been required to bring these massive stones to the building site. Moreover, their positioning and the painstaking way they were dressed, are all signs of a civilisation far more advanced than one might think. As a result, these ancient structures force us to think about how we, as a civilisation, have developed and where it all began.
Entering stone circles is a magical experience and a very physical one, which allows us to connect to something outside of time. As artist Jeremy Deller points out: “Stonehenge represents our attempt at finding our way out of whatever current mess we find ourselves in, to recalibrate our values and ideas.” It's something we deem to be very necessary at this point in time, and which we wanted to celebrate with this new installation.
Why did you select this particular type of stone for 'Henge'?
With its extraordinarily rich, textured surfaces, the 150-million-year- old Jurassic limestone we have chosen is an obvious reference to the materiality of these ancient structures. It is a material that brings that temporal dimension that we are trying to evoke into our design, as well as being zero carbon and recyclable.
How do you hope visitors will interact with 'Henge'?
We hope that, during this year’s edition of London Design Festival, 'Henge' will act as a participatory sculptural form that invites those who work, live and visit the area to engage with it creatively. Using it as a space for contemplation and reflection, as well as an inclusive civic arena for performances, music, poetry readings, etc.
A space to take a break from the hectic rhythm of urban life, in order to reconnect to our community – past, present, and future.