THE ELLIPSICOON RETREAT PAVILION
BY BEN VAN BERKEL OF UNSTUDIO
Inside-outside, light and shade, open and closed, the Ellipsicoon offers a tranquil space for either solitary moments of rest, reading or contemplation, or a cocoon-like theatre for conversation and communication. The pavilion is a space for the mind, for moments of ephemeral escape, for rumination or for simply being.
A place of rest, retreat and mindfulness, the Ellipsicoon creates a tranquil nomadic extension to the home: a detached, secluded space of immersion in nature. The continuous sculptural surface of the pavilion is constructed from woven strands of 100% recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) The curved sides of the structure taper inwards as they rise, enabling the rounded openings to facilitate moments of being simultaneously both inside and outside – physically and intimately connected to the surroundings and to nature, whilst wrapped and enclosed by the soft, continuous curves of the woven structure.
Upon crossing the threshold the user stands slightly above ground level, after which a sunken seating area offers enclosed and semi-enclosed space, with built in soft seating that follows the fluid contours of the space. Here differently proportioned elliptical openings frame views to the surroundings whilst providing daylight to the interior.
Ben van Berkel has long been interested in exploring spaces which extend function to replace the reality of the everyday with the potential for more nuanced, reflective experiences. The Ellipsicoon offers the user a place of temporary disengagement, where the practicalities, duties and interruptions of daily life can momentarily fade and the imagination can take over.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Ben van Berkel for UNStudio with work around the globe since its inception, the studio has produced a wide range of work ranging from offices, residential, retail and products, to urban masterplans, infrastructure and public buildings, including The Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and The Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam.