Now that summer has just about arrived, London’s parks and public spaces are increasingly thronged with visitors hoping to catch the sunshine. Meanwhile, Kensington Gardens is set to attract a fresh crowd this weekend, with fans of art and architecture flocking to see the newly-erected Serpentine Gallery Pavilion.
The Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a new temporary pavilion since 2000, approaching designers of international acclaim to build new structures that showcase the very latest in architectural thinking.
Remaining in place for the duration of the warmer months, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion becomes a summertime hotspot for the capital and typically hosts film screenings, talks and even the BBC Proms.
This year’s pavilion, the 13th so far, is designed by award-winning Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto – at 41, the youngest person yet to accept the venerated commission. The final building was unveiled this week and greeted with critical acclaim – according to the Guardian, it’s “a powerful distillation of a young architect’s ideas and one of the most radical pavilions to date”.
Fujimoto’s pavilion takes inspiration from organic structures like forests, caves and nests, but the finished product is bracingly futuristic – an elaborate lattice of delicate 20 mm steel poles covering 350 square metres of lawn space.
The building has a semi-transparent look and indistinct edges, blending into the surrounding landscape and providing a stark contrast to the classical facade of the Serpentine Gallery’s east wing.
“Designed as a flexible, multi-purpose social space – with a cafe sited inside – visitors will be encouraged to enter and interact with the pavilion in different ways,” says the gallery.
The pavilion officially opens on June 8th. The launch will be attended by the architect himself, who’ll deliver a special talk from inside – an unmissable opportunity for art and architecture enthusiasts to hear Fujimoto discuss his visionary design while they see the site for the first time.
Kensington Gardens lies immediately to the west of Hyde Park in the city centre, so those staying in London hotels this summer should have no difficulty in paying the pavilion a visit.