Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

2013-08-01 14.12.15Each year the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens commissions a temporary structure for the summer.  This year it has been designed by Sou Fujimoto.

It is a common theme, year on year, to play with the difference between an inside space and an outside space and to build something which allows the sky and the surrounding trees and park to be part of the experience of being inside the structure.   This year is no different, and the structure is a set of interconnecting cubes which appear to hang in the air.

The Pavilion is usually home to a Fortnum and Masons pop up cafe (although perhaps ‘pop-up’ is not quite the right description for a cafe that supplies plastic spoons covered in silver, notwithstanding its very transient nature), and we gravitated towards it, progressing from the shade of one tree to the next across the park, on one of the hottest days of the summer.

Despite the open weave look of the structure, it did afford a little shade, and the open ends allowed what breeze there was through.  The extravagantly priced bottled water barely touched the sides, so thirsty were we all.

The design allows for, in fact encourages, exploration of some of the intermediate levels off the ground, by setting perspex steps and platforms at appropriate intervals; the architect’s intent apparently being that each visitor can choose their own individual vantage point.  There is evidently, however, not much to physically prevent the unruly from climbing too high and while we were there, enjoying our ‘on the ground in the shade’ perspective, the young custodians, walkie talkies hitched to their hips were being kept busy remonstrating with a couple of feral children who refused to obey the instructions not to climb to the top of the thing.

2013-08-01 13.50.04

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