The lush countryside west of Kolkata, India, is home to a tribal community, the Kishor Sangha, who wanted to create an experience for a religious festival that celebrates tribal life, rituals and the symbiotic relationship with the forest. They also wanted to raise awareness about the enrichment and conservation of the forest and the communities that call it home.
Abin Design Studio, Kolkata, India, was selected to design a ritual space. The firm created the Pavilion of Canopies, a contemporary update of a classical temple pavilion.
The designers wanted attendees to feel as though they were taking a journey through a lush forest of canopies and arriving at the sight of a glorious divinity—an experience reminiscent of the ancient Indian ritual of undertaking a pilgrimage through the forest to seek divine enlightenment.
To construct the pavilion, a mandala-like design of 19 discs, each 10 feet in diameter, was laid out in a 60-foot circle. Each disc was raised to a height of 20 feet supported by a structure of composite bamboo posts centered at each disc. The grid-like symmetry was contrasted by 38 planes of undulating fabric that created the diverse canopies within the pavilion. Each fabric plane was bound by a grade of parameters of varying width and height that resulted in the canopy surging like the tangled vegetation of a forest.
LED droplights were placed within the spaces of the fabric panels to mimic shooting stars. Handcrafted birds made by local artisans were perched on the fabric to evoke the sense of a canopy of tree limbs, showcase the art and provide income for the artists.