The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2007
Off to Hyde Park to see the latest Serpentine Pavilion, this year designed by Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen.
From a distance it looks rather like a giant’s wooden spinning top has come to rest in Hyde Park. Close up the pavilion is constructed from dark wooden triangular panels, like scales, bolted onto the framework. A ramped walkway winds around the outside side up to the top, with twisted cord strung vertically around the outer edge of the side rail in place of windows for part of the way. (Thsi presumably also supports the ramp). Views across Kensington Gardens are progressively revealed as you ascend.
At the top you step out onto a small viewing platform sited inside the dome of the pavilion and overlooking the interior below. From here you can watch the visitors snacking in the adhoc coffee shop, sitting on the steps or bouncing on the large red velour balls provided for this purpose.
I feel the designers missed a trick here. Walking round the oexterior of a winding cone was rather like going up a helter skelter on the outside, how much more fun it would have been to then reverse the process and slide down round the interior on a mat to burst forth at street level.
This year the pavilion is open from 24 August – 5 November 2007. While you’re there, why not call in at another celebrated modern folly nearby, the Princess Diana Memorial fountain.