Off to Hyde Park in London this morning, early when the city was quiet and the park was still after the rain.
We were making our other annual visit to a summer excitement: the Serpentine pavilion. This is pavilion number 12, and has been designed by Herzog, de Meuron, and Ai Weiwei, the trio who conjured the Bird's Next stadium in Beijing for the Olympics there. Every year since 2000 a temporary pavilion has been designed by a top / famous architect and has a great way for the strolling public to sample their work. Our unpredictable weather provides a stiff challenge too!
This year the design went into the ground, and what has resulted is a kind of archaeological dig of footings or remains of previous pavilions. The depth is only 1.5m to the water table, and the roof, which catches rain is 1.5m above the ground.
It is completely lined in cork - apart from one triangle, which seemed to be the lowest, and therefore perhaps represents the top of the water table - which is beautifully fitted together, and feels fantastic. The detailing is exquisite, even the edge with the grass where the cork curves to meet the green.
The seats are shaped like large champagne corks, and the cork itself makes attractive visual use of the damp! There are also corks outside near the coffee van, which to our relief opened not long after we arrived.
We sat awhile, enjoying our coffee and quietly watching the sparse people become crowds before wandering off. Two aspects of the pavilion jarred: the station platform gale phenomenon which in this case was horizontal rather than vertical (deeply chilly when it was pleasantly warm outside), and the 'tacked on' strips of lights which just did not sit well for us with the otherwise meticulous detailing. It could be that they were meant to represent the kind of lighting provided for covered archaeological digs - but the latter are not covered in cork. Maybe picky, because otherwise we loved both it and its concept.
a trip to the guggenheim in bilbao .....
45 minutes ago