PITTSFIELD, Mass./ United States — July 18, 2013

Award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto utilized SABIC’s LEXAN™ sheet to realize his design for the Serpentine Gallery’s annual Pavilion commission, demonstrating SABIC’s ability to provide advanced material solutions that offer design versatility, high-end performance and outstanding aesthetics. Fujimoto’s Pavilion 2013, part of the Serpentine Gallery’s annual Pavilion commission (June 4-October 20, 2013; London, UK), is an ambitious structure that uses polycarbonate LEXAN EXELL™ D sheet in circular and semi-circular sections. Versatile and easy to form, LEXAN sheet allowed the architect to cut intricate shapes for the structure that are both delicate and semi-transparent, enabling a geometric, cloud-like design. Additionally, SABIC’s LEXAN sheet provides UV-resistance while allowing sunlight to easily penetrate due to its clarity, simultaneously protecting Pavilion visitors from the elements and remaining part of the Gallery landscape. The design versatility of SABIC’s LEXAN sheet facilitated Fujimoto’s aesthetic vision, creating a temporary structure that is both beautiful and innovative.

“The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion commission is one of the most anticipated events of the architectural and design world. SABIC is proud that it could support the Serpentine Gallery and Sou Fujimoto with a flexible, high-performance material that allowed him to build a structure so closely aligned with his design vision, and one that blends so well into the landscape of the Gallery,” said Michel van Acht, General Manager, Specialty Film and Sheet, EMEA, Innovative Plastics, SABIC. “Fujimoto is at the forefront of an exciting generation of artists who are re-inventing the human relationship with the built environment, and this structure is sure to spark the imagination of future architects. The aesthetic possibilities demonstrated here combined with LEXAN sheet’s energy efficient properties make this the ideal material for architects seeking to construct buildings that are not only visually stimulating, but also reduce energy consumption.”

Fujimoto’s design for the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 utilizes 1.250 square meters (7 tonnes) of polycarbonate LEXAN sheet and occupies 350 square meters of lawn. The sheets are cut into circles and semi-circles and placed in a latticed structure of 20mm steel poles to form a circular roof. The entire structure is intended to blend, cloud-like, into the backdrop of the Serpentine Gallery’s colonnaded East wing. SABIC’s LEXAN sheet can be cut and transported with ease as it is 50 percent lighter than glass, and this lightweight property also allows the material to be safely supported by the delicate, narrow rods. The semi-transparent design enables visitors to have a 360 degree view from within the pavilion while not interfering with the vista across the park, achieving Fujimoto’s vision for a building that inhabits a space between nature and artificiality. From certain vantage points, the Pavilion appears to merge with the classical structure of the Serpentine Gallery, with visitors suspended in space.

Although the LEXAN sheet is exceptionally lightweight, it delivers up to 250 times the impact resistance of glass to reduce the risk of breakage from wind, hail and other extreme weather. It is also compliant with necessary building fire and safety regulations, and the polycarbonate material is both re-usable and recyclable. This is especially critical considering the Pavilion is a temporary structure that will be deconstructed and sold at the end of the visitor season. This recyclability, in addition to the material’s ability to provide ample natural light and optimize energy performance, offers architects a better opportunity to construct buildings that reduce energy consumption and cut costs—one of the highest priorities in building and construction today. Sustainable building materials like SABIC’s LEXAN sheet portfolio have great potential to help buildings achieve recognition through programs such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system.

The Pavilion was designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café inside, and visitors are encouraged to enter and interact with the structure in different ways throughout its four-month tenure in London’s Kensington Gardens. At 41, Fujimoto is the youngest architect to design a temporary structure for the Serpentine Gallery, and his selection of SABIC’s LEXAN sheet material is both innovative and forward-thinking. This material can be used to fulfill the growing requirement in the building industry for constructions that are not only innovative in design but also energy efficient. Overall, the project demonstrates SABIC’s commitment to providing versatile materials that meet industry needs as well as help customers bring their most innovative designs to life.


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Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.

SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 24.72 billion (US$ 6.59 billion) in 2012. Sales revenues for 2012 totaled SR 189 billion (US$ 50.40 billion). Total assets stood at SR 338 billion (US$ 90.13 billion) at the end of 2012.

SABIC’s businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilizers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 17 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India and South Korea. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.

SABIC manufactures on a global scale in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Headquartered in Riyadh, SABIC was founded in 1976 when the Saudi Arabian Government decided to use the hydrocarbon gases associated with its oil production as the principal feedstock for production of chemicals, polymers and fertilizers. The Saudi Arabian Government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent held by private investors in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

About Innovative Plastics

SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers’ most pressing challenges. Today, Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as Healthcare, Transportation, Automotive, Electrical, Lighting and Consumer Electronics. The company’s extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. Innovative Plastics ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).

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