SERPENTINE PAVILION 2015 |LONDON|
This is the first Serpentine Pavilion I’ve seen in 15 years of its history, in fact every summer a new temporary one is built in Kensington Gardens. Every year, since 2000, the Serpentine Commission gives the chance to an international renowned studio to design their first built structure in England. This year the Pavillon is designed by the Spanish SelgasCano studio. I was a little bit disappointed when I firstly saw it, it almost looks like one of those cheap, colourful play tunnels for kids or it reminds me even of those long soap bubbles with their glowing, changing, bright colours. But maybe nothing can be compared to the 2013 Sujimoto structure, by far my favourite Serpentine Pavilion, I wish I could have seen and experienced it! The structure is pretty simple, made by a double-layered ETFE skin (a plastic material, the same used for the first time to cover the Olympic Water Cube in Bejing) with both opaque and translucent coloured sheets or stripes that give a changing and iridescent effect, making it always different due to the observer’s or sun’s position. The peculiarities and the central themes about the way the public is supposed to experience it are: lightness, transparency, colours, materials and a feeling of constant surprise and change. “The architects say the design was also inspired by the barely controlled chaos of the London Underground, and there is a feeling of the tube’s maze-like madness in their twisting tunnels, as visitors loop through the multiple layers of plastic sheeting, trying to find out how each passage connects. The place comes alive with people, a shadow-dance of shapes and reflections, as park life melds into a pearly soap-bubble mirage. At night, it transforms into a fantastical alien glow-worm.” (From “The Guardian“) I didn’t have that impression of chaos but once inside it gets quite hard to breathe due to the oven-effect generated by the plastic sheets and sun combo. The indoor space is used as a cafeteria during the day and as a forum for debate and entertainment by night but I don’t know how people can stand that stifling and boiling indoor area! Perhaps it has a completely different look and gives other perceptions by night….I’ll see and keep you updated 😉 This year the Serpentine Pavilion will close on 18 October so lots of time to go back again.