2015 SERPENTINE PAVILION, HYDE PARK until October 18
|2015 Serpentine pavilion at night (c) Iwan Baan|
Every summer since 2000 a much anticipated landmark appears in Hyde Park. The annual Pavilion is said to be 'one of the top ten most visited annual architectural and design exhibitions in the world'. This beautiful 'happening' is a double-skinned polygonal structure consisting of panels of many coloured polymer (ETFE) woven through and wrapped like webbing. This year the extraordinary chrysalis-like structure is as organic as the surrounding gardens. It connects with nature and becomes part of the landscape.
The first impression is of a joyous playfulness and bold use of colour. I heard a mother asked her small son what colour he would like to be. 'Blue' he said, perhaps a little predictably. 'Quick, come here' - and he was transformed. You can go in and out along any number of different paths. One of the inspirations was the way in which people move through London Underground with its many-layered yet structured flow.
At its heart is an open space for gathering, as well as a cafe.
|2015 Serpentine Pavilion interior (c) Jim Stephenson|
Gradually I became aware of the mystery of the Pavilion's weightlessness and solidity. How is it possible? Well, some of the publicity suggests that here a visitor can experience architecture in new ways through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials. I think this is not an exaggeration.