There are times when I’d love to go back to being a child again and experience the London that’s made for the young. The bright lights of a big city, enormous and exciting museums, and parks packed with endless opportunities for play. Luckily, the capital has a great way of creating things that are child and adult friendly, meaning that you can either see the adult side or embrace your inner child.
When I spotted from afar this year’s colourful Serpentine Pavilion on a sunny day at the beginning of July, I thought I was approaching a child’s playground (and was obviously drawn to its multi-colour reflections). On closer inspection, and after reading more about its designers selgascano, I could certainly see more behind its playful facade.
Serpentine Galleries has commissioned an annual Pavilion by different architects and artists since 2000, making this year its 15th anniversary. Each year the brief has been to:
“Design a flexible, multi-purpose social space with a café that is open to all throughout the summer.”
With such a broad brief, Hyde Park has seen a variety of difference structures over the years (I wrote about the 2013 Pavilion here) but this year feels like its most colourful thanks to its Spanish architects.
José Selgas and Lucía Cano are the two architects behind selgascano, the first Spanish company to be invited to design the Pavilion. They’ve got some spectacular building concepts in their portfolio, characterised by clean, contemporary design and plenty of colour. Here’s a handful of my favourite buildings via Google.
Clockwise from top left: Factory Mérida, Badajoz; Office in the Woods, Madrid; Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Centre, Cáseres; El ‘B’. Cartagena, Auditorium and Congress Centre; Murcia – Image source
You can certainly see the their style reflected in this year’s Pavilion and knowing its architectural background is part of what makes it interesting for adults.
Talking about the design themselves, Selgascano said:
We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials. We have therefore designed a Pavilion which incorporates all of these elements. 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, characterised by colour, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. (Source.)
But putting all of this aside, the colour and shape is the main thing that will draw adults and children alike inside.
It may look a little flimsy as, in simple terms, it is made from ribbons and a special kind of plastic. But for snap happy people like me it certainly challenges you to get a little creative.
If you don’t care for cameras you can just enjoy a cool drink inside (it does get warm in there when the sun shines!).
For the real children visiting it’s a great space to run around and burn off some energy, particularly as it provides a playful route that switches between indoors…
This year’s Pavilion has seen some negative reviews since it opened and I can see that for adults it might not look all that great on first impressions. But I think if you look a little harder or embrace your inner child you’ll find something to enjoy there, even if it is only for a minute or two.
The Serpentine Pavilion can be found here in Hyde Park until 18 October 2015 and you can get undercover between 10am and 6pm.
More information can be found on the Serpentine Galleries website.
Have you seen any of the Pavilions from the last 15 years?