The best Serpentine Gallery pavilions I've seen in a long time - Part 1
Every year in Hyde Park, Serpentine Gallery organizes a temporary pavilion for the public to experience and enjoy. Each year, different architects, designers, structural engineers and artists pull a "rabbit out of the hat". At least, that is my impression. I've been in London for almost two years now, and I've managed to "catch" a couple of different pavilions.
I don't know if you are anything like me, but I tend to not inform myself with the up and coming pavilion design, mainly because I want to be surprised. And it really is wonderful when that time comes and the big reveal happens. Each pavilion is spectacular in its design, concept and engineering; but this year, the design is just plain stunning. I will elaborate in a second. First, you need to equip yourself with a cup of tea, coffee or whatever it is that you fancy, because this post is filled with visual goodies :D. It's going to take a while.
I know that you expected sunshine and warmth in these photos, but this is London people! By now, you should be used to the weather changing every five minutes. So when I stepped out of the tube station at South Kensington, and was greeted by wind and rain, I thought well, maybe I will see the pavilion in a different perspective, have a different experience. And I must say, sometimes something can have a bigger impact on you, if you see it in the rain, on a cloudy background, rather than bathed in sunshine. Or maybe that's just me. Either way, you are gonna experience a different kind of photo journal!
So let's start from the beginning, with the people behind the pavilion. This years Serpentine Gallery main pavilion is signed by BjarkeIngles Group (also known as BIG). As an architect myself, I "grew" up in University studying BIG's concept ideas and presentations for their project. They had a reason for everything (as it should be), and they knew how to communicate it to the public. So you can bet that there is a concept here too: "a structure that is free-form, yet rigorous; modular yet sculptural; both transparent and opaque; both solid box and blob" - BjarkeIngles. What we see here is a wall like structure that is "unzipped", in order to create a pathway towards the Serpentine Gallery - which sort of is an attraction all on its own. BIG knows who to compliment its surroundings.
The structure is made out of modular boxes that stack up one top of the other, fixed to each other, in order to create the free-form shape that you experience once you are inside. The boxes are made out of extruded Fiberline profiles, a mesh of woven glass fibres.
What I really liked here (and that was the whole idea), is that you can see the structure's duality at the same time: both see through and opaque. You can experience two different stages of the pavilion in the same place. I think it is one of those cases where you either love it or you hate it (CCL is acting out again).
What is beautiful about this temporary installation, is that it changes with each step that you take. Like the fact that you start seeing curved lines or patterns, taking form towards the upper part of the structure. Can you see them too? It's like you get to see it grow, evolve!
After I managed to move around it and experience each little angle differently, it was about time to get inside. My camera was crying for help - shooting in the rain with a camera that is not waterproof is just really smart (note to self).
I don't know if this was intentional, or if the pavilion just triggered this emotion in me by chance, but once inside, I remembered a childhood feeling that I used to experience (and I am sure you did too). Remember when you would go with the family to the seaside for the summer vacation? Remember how, sometimes you would catch the sea with some waves still lingering on, and you would jump right in, go underwater and see the waves crash above you? Remember how they looked?
That it exactly how the inside roof of this installation looks like to me!
Looking back on this experience, I believe I've enjoyed it more on this cloudy weather, that I would have with sunshine. Why? Because it triggered childhood memories for me. Thinking of that, I wonder what did it trigger in the rest of the people that were there? You see, that is the whole point (or rather, one of the points - to be correct) of architecture and design.
IN THE END, ALL THEY HAVE TO DO IS TRIGGER AN EMOTION IN YOU! If you experience the smallest emotion, feeling, or even a memory, than the installation did its job. We are wonderful human beings, we wonder, we feel, we imagine, we create. We should be able to enjoy these things everyday.
So there you have it detail lovers; you have experienced the Serpentine Gallery main pavilion in a different light. Although this is not the end (as I have more pictures to share with you), I do know how precious your time is. This would turn in a never ending photo journal post, if I don't stop now.
So, I promise not to leave you hanging. There will be a PART 2 of the SERPENTINE GALLERY PAVILIONS PHOTO JOURNAL - so stay tuned!! As always, have a wonderful weekend and keep being curious. Until next time!
All images that are credited as '©Detail Movement', are done by Raluca Vaduva for Detail Movement. All rights reserved. All pictures that are not my own, I credit them to the best of my knowledge & research, to their online sources. I do not claim ownership over them in any way.