Della Valle Bernheimer's design for a garden structure at the Philbrook Museum of Art originates in the spirit and etymology of the word “pavilion,” which is derived from the French papillon, meaning butterfly. The cocoon-like Butterfly Pavilion is also inspired by the entomological transformation of the silkworm into the butterfly. In an act of becoming, the silkworm pupates, spinning itself an intricate chamber. The Butterfly Pavilion resembles a cocoon, not spun of silk but etched and cut from plate steel. Using laser cutting technology, a diminutive 8’ x 16’ pavilion was fabricated from wood decking and steel tubes. Two layers of ¼' thick panels, powdercoated in white (the outside layer) and sky blue (the inside layer) are attached to the steel structure. Etched into these panels is the repeated and abstracted pattern of a butterfly that filters light and creates an artificial cocoon, perfect as a contemplative space for one. Light passing through these patterned walls creates a latticework of dappled light and shadow, providing the visitor with transformative solitude while maintaining a gentle visual connection to the museum grounds. At night, the pavilion transforms, becoming a lantern that casts a soft, diffused glow.
(in collaboration with Jared Della Valle)