The first images of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Spanish studio SelgasCano, have been released. The design, which forms the 15th incarnation of the world-renowned series, forms an amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure consisting of panels of a translucent, multicolored fluorine-based polymer (ETFE). Visitors are able to enter the pavilion at a number of different points, with a secret corridor connecting the inner and outer layer of the scheme. the architects were eager not to just reference the site itself, but also — through its chaotic yet structured flow — the London underground.
‘When the Serpentine invited us to design the pavilion, we began to think about what the structure needed to provide and what materials should be used in a royal park in London,’ explained SelgasCano upon opening the pavilion. ‘These questions, mixed with our own architectural interests and the knowledge that the design needs to connect with nature and feel part of the landscape, provided us with a concept based on pure visitor experience. We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, color and materials.‘
‘We have therefore designed a pavilion which incorporates all of these elements,‘ continued José Selgas and Lucía Cano. ‘The spatial qualities of the pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it. Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterized by color, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. This is accomplished by creating a double-layered shell, made of opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) in a variety of colors.’
On friday evenings, between July and September, the pavilion will once again become the stage for the Serpentine’s park nights series of live events. The events bring together art, poetry, music, film, literature and theory and include three new major commissions by artists Jesse Darling, Fleur Melbourn and Marianna Simnett.
‘At the heart of the pavilion is an open space for gathering as well as a café,’ say Selgascano. ‘We are also very much aware of the pavilion’s anniversary in our design for the 15th annual commission. The structure therefore had to be – without resembling previous pavilions – a tribute to them all and a homage to all the stories told within those designs.’
Serpentine Galleries’ Julia Peyton-Jones, director, and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist said: ‘We are proud to work with SelgasCano in this, the 15th year of a commission unique in the western world that continues to showcase some of the boldest and innovative designs in contemporary architecture internationally. In keeping with their reputation for playful designs and bold use of color, SelgasCano’s design is an extraordinary chrysalis-like structure, as organic as the surrounding gardens. it is a place for people to meet in, to have coffee and to experience the live events we put on throughout the summer.‘
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