COIR Pavilion: Challenging space and design

COIR Pavilion is like a winding jigsaw that invites the viewer to enter and explore. — Picture courtesy of Shalini Ganendra Fine Art.
COIR Pavilion is like a winding jigsaw that invites the viewer to enter and explore. — Picture courtesy of Shalini Ganendra Fine Art.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — COIR Pavilion’s large and striking structure has a bold and intriguing presence in the upper gallery of Shalini Ganendra Fine Art (SGFA).

The layered blocks that make up the Pavilion create a free-standing, winding jigsaw, which invites the viewer to explore its immersive space and move between the irregular walls.

On closer inspection, the chestnut blocks that make up the structure are surprisingly textural, their fibrous quality contrasting with the flatness of the blocks.

It is precisely this fibrousness which makes the COIR Pavilion such a source of intrigue, being made up of “coir”—artificially extracted coconut husk fibre.

The curious materiality of the Pavilion is central to understanding the work, which uses coir to challenge traditional concepts of space and design.

COIR Pavilion is the product of a successful collaboration between Shalini Ganendra Fine Art and  the founders of POW Ideas—Kyle E and Jun Ong—and architectural students from Taylor’s University.

The work epitomises the ideals of POW which seeks to question and challenge the boundaries of design through innovation and explicitly material exploration.

Shalini Ganendra Fine Art, an art gallery which seeks to promote local, contemporary artists welcomes the COIR Pavilion for the third installment of its PavilionNOW program.

This program, initiated in 2015, has seen a range of similarly adventurous materials including bamboo, galvanized steel and local timber, positioning it at the forefront of artistic innovation and exploration in celebration of Malaysian design. 

PavilionNOW is a design project which celebrates local Malaysian talent through collaborative and innovative installations.

Every year, a Malaysian architect or designer curates a pavilion which explores and responds to the award-winning green architecture of Gallery Residence, designed by Ken Yeang.

The energy and sense of community felt during the opening night of the Pavilion on September 15, which saw an immersive meditational session alongside the work, epitomises the immersive and inspiring nature of PavilionNOW.

Just as with Shadow Garden (2016) which was designed by award-winning Ar. Eleena Jamil and lives on in the Gallery’s side garden, this year’s Pavilion encapsulates the ethos of originality, community and education which lies at the heart of SGFA.

Capacity building – which enables the development of skills, instincts and resources underpinning modern communities – is perpetuated through a range of initiatives launched by the gallery.

PavilionNOW takes its place alongside the gallery’s other educational and inspirational programs, which include Vision Culture Lecture Series, ArtHug and Green to go.

The gallery looks forward to hosting a range of events open to the public which engage with the impressive, yet intimate space.

Having recently launched Poetry Share, a fortnightly meet-up of literary enthusiasts, the tranquility and privacy of the space facilitates the platforming of engaging and personal discussion.

Celebrated spoken word artists, and first-time performers are seen coming together to celebrate diverse cultural backgrounds, creative identities and artistic forms.

Since its foundation in 1998, the SGFA has distinguished itself as an interactive and welcoming space, which supports a plethora of disciplines and makes them accessible to the wider public; from yoga classes, to meditational workshops, to drawing sessions.

The distinctive atmosphere and energy of the space is mobilised to unlock a deeper creative and imaginative potential in the individual.

Located in Lorong 16/7B, Section 16 of Petaling Jaya, SGFA is open to the public between Tuesday and Saturday 11-6pm, free of charge.

As well as the COIR Pavilion, the gallery is currently exhibiting a range of local artists:  Kim Ng,  Zac Lee, Bibi Chew, Anniketnyi Madian and the newly launched Concept Studio for quality craft and collectibles. 

Watch out for Roots, Emerging Malaysia which will feature four gifted Malaysian young artists as part of SGFA’s program for Gallery Weekend Kuala Lumpur (Dec 8–10).

A number of events will complement interaction with the COIR Pavilion including Pow Wow sessions led by creator, POW Ideas, every Thursday from 6pm -8pm for the month of November, which will feature discussions with Malaysian talents such as fashion designer Fern Chua.

There is Poetry at the Pavilion on November 17 and 24, 6pm, and Art Classes by the Pavilion!  

Also see SFGA: Shalini Ganendra on Facebook as well as at

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