Archive for September, 2007

The Nonument, Holland

 The Nonument, Holland

Folly Fanciers, I present the Nonument.

Strictly speaking, if your definition of a folly is a building with no particular function then this one does not qualify. On the other hand if it merely has to show folly in the designer or builder, then it does that in spades.

Commissioned by the City of The Hague as a surveillance hut for a bicycle park for the seaside resort of Schrevenige, the Nonument also acts as a piece of public art. The hut is contained in an object that is part monument, part strange fortification and part folly, deriving from seaside architecture, fortifications, lighthouses and earthworks. On top of the monument is a small house that periodically catches fire.

In January 2006 the project was featured on a series of postage stamps showcasing artworks by international artists in the Netherlands.

It was designed by the award-winning London practice FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste), run by Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland and Sam Jacob They have designed a number of interesting and eccentric buildings which seem particularly popular with the Dutch. Their web site is at http://www.fashionarchitecturetaste.com and has lots  more examples of quirky modern design.

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Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, Hyde Park, London, August 2007












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 giants 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.

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