“I was developing an environment for a happening,” explained Alessandro Bava, founder and principal of London-based Bava and Sons when describing the ethos of Pyramid 15, produced in collaboration with Liam Denhamer. The result is a Revlon red, Situationist-inflected rave-cave-meets-pavilion for events, gatherings, and spontaneous social interactions that debuted earlier this year at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery’s Future Contemporaries party.
In his practice, Bava muses on the relationship between technology and architectural form through site-specific exhibitions, cultural projects, and research. As a result, Pyramid 15 reflects his interest in how space and place can shape queer identities, especially at home, one of the most intimate places.
The precedent for Pyramid 15 is the bedrooms of the Renaissance palazzo, particularly those of 15th-century Italian humanist and condottieri Federico da Montefeltro. In the palazzo, the bedroom was a semipublic space with a sleeping alcove that afforded true privacy. It was modestly sized at approximately 43 square feet, but festooned with elaborate carved wood and tempera paintings.
For the Serpentine installation, built with help from creative agency My Beautiful City, Bava chose to “play on the connection with intimacy and the public within this context.” He extruded the boxy Renaissance alcove into a timber pyramid, an appreciative study in underappreciated non-Western architectural forms. The entrance is less than 20 inches tall, so once you’re in, it’s easier to stay than to leave. Walls are lit with LED strips, and a digitally printed carpet surrounds the installation to create a haptic, social space within the gallery.