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New architectural installation inspired by Ramadan opens at V&A

A new architectural installation inspired by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has opened at the V&A (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Naomi Clarke, PA Entertainment Reporter

A new architectural installation inspired by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has opened at the V&A.

The Ramadan Pavilion, designed by architect Shahed Saleem, will be stationed in the Exhibition Road Courtyard at the V&A South Kensington from March 3 until May 1.

Organised in collaboration with the Ramadan Tent Project, the pavilion will host a series of public events and two open Iftars as part of the charity's annual Ramadan festival.

The design of the structure drew inspiration from the V&A's prints and drawings collection to represent the history of the mosque and Muslims in Britain.

The aim of the project is to celebrate the lived experiences of Muslims across the UK and the globe during the holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

It also hopes to bring attention to the values and traditions of Ramadan through “architectural expression, experimentation and associated public arts programme”.

Saleem said: “The more I looked at mosques across the country the more I saw buildings which defied all notions of convention and taste, usually self-designed and built by highly marginalised and economically deprived communities.

“In this I saw great resilience, determination and inventiveness. These communities were creating new architectural meanings by drawing from their own lived experience and according to their own rules.

“In my work I explore this formal vocabulary through sketches and experimental maquettes, and these have now come to fruition in the Ramadan Pavilion, which embodies years of observation and exploration.”

Omar Salha, founder and chief executive of the Ramadan Tent Project, said: “For the past decade Ramadan Tent Project has connected and convened over half a million people from all backgrounds through its annual Ramadan Festival and flagship initiative Open Iftar.

“It is with great pride to mark our 10-year anniversary with the launch of the Ramadan Pavilion as the first of its kind globally.

“The Pavilion is the latest addition to the Ramadan Festival, bringing communities together at an unprecedented level through innovation, dynamism and creativity.

“Ramadan Tent Project is rooted in its work to increase community harmony, belonging and understanding of Muslim experiences, identity and heritage.

“Our work aims to build bridges with different communities, soften hearts and minds and turn strangers into friends.

“The Ramadan Pavilion is designed to serve not only as a physical structure and installation which inspires visitors connected to Islamic arts and architecture, but also a space for millions of visitors to engage, celebrate and learn about Islam, Ramadan, Muslim history, culture and heritage.”

The first event of the festival begins with the Welcome Ramadan Conference at the V&A on Sunday March 5.

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