The Serpentine Pavilion, the annual summer architecture project hosted by Serpentine Galleries, has opened in London, a swirling series of multicolored chambers and hallways by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano (the first commission from a Spanish firm) resting on the lawn outside of the museum galleries.
Created by husband and wife team José Selgas and Lucía Cano, the Pavilion marks its 15th anniversary with a markedly transient work that still manages to feel considerably more solid and stationary than some past iterations of the series. Created from a translucent, multi-coloured fluorine-based polymer, the pavilion glows from both the inside and out, diffusing light through its thin membrane, and creating a tactile sense of a skin or stained glass surface in equal measure.
The result is a space that makes much of its temporary intent, while emphasizing a rooted physical experience. “The spatial qualities of the Pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it,” the firm said in a statement. “Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterized by color, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes.” Visitors can pass through multiple points of egress, including a concealed doorway that doubles down on the pavilion’s playful visual construction. In other spaces, a lack of polymer brings the physical underpinning of the space to the foreground, underscoring a stark, white piping structure that immediately calls to mind a quite literal skeleton. At the same time, the strips of material and their occasionally ragged presentation make for a celebratory atmosphere, as if the space was intentionally decked out in preparation for a grand fête.”
Considering its structure, and the language used to describe it, the pavilion makes for an interesting continuation of recent architectural trends towards bodily forms and their execution on a grand scale. The pavilion will remain open through October 18th.
— D. Creahan