Serpentine reveals colourful, chrysalis-like design for the 15th annual pavilion

Serpentine reveals today designs for the 15th annual Pavilion. The render by Madrid-based architects SelgasCano shows an amorphous, double-skinned, polygonal structure consisting of panels of a translucent, multi-coloured fabric membrane (ETFE) woven through and wrapped in webbing. Visitors will be able to enter and exit the Pavilion at a number of different points, passing through a ‘secret corridor’ between the outer and inner layer of the structure and into the Pavilion’s brilliant, stained glass-effect interior.

Serpentine Galleries Director, Julia Peyton-Jones and Co-Director Hans Ulrich Obrist said:

‘We are proud to work with SelgasCano in this, the 15th year of a commission unique in the western world that continues to showcase some of the boldest and innovative designs in contemporary architecture internationally. In keeping with their reputation for playful designs and bold use of colour, SelgasCano’s structure will be an extraordinary chrysalis-like structure, as organic as the surrounding gardens. We can’t wait to go inside to experience the light diffused through the coloured panels like stained glass windows. It will be a place for people to meet, to have coffee and to experience the live events we put on throughout the summer.’

Since the commission was launched in 2000 by Director Julia Peyton-Jones, the annual Serpentine Pavilion – unique in terms of its conception, delivery and funding model – has been designed by some of the world’s greatest architects, including Zaha Hadid, Oscar Niemeyer, Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, Frank Gehry and Jean Nouvel. Projects have ranged from SANAA’s floating, aluminium cloud in 2009 to Peter Zumthor’s zen-like garden enclosure in 2011 to Smiljan Radić’s shell-like structure in 2014. In keeping with the criteria of the commission, this will be the first built structure in England by SelgasCano.

The architects describe their design:

‘When the Serpentine invited us to design the Pavilion, we began to think about what the structure needed to provide and what materials should be used in a Royal Park in London. These questions, mixed with our own architectural interests and the knowledge that the design needs to connect with nature and feel part of the landscape, provided us with a concept based on pure visitor experience. We sought a way to allow the public to experience architecture through simple elements: structure, light, transparency, shadows, lightness, form, sensitivity, change, surprise, colour and materials. We have therefore designed a Pavilion which incorporates all of these elements. The spatial qualities of the Pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it. Each entrance allows for a specific journey through the space, characterised by colour, light and irregular shapes with surprising volumes. This is accomplished by creating a double-layered shell, made of opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) in a variety of colours. At the heart of the Pavilion is an open space for gathering as well as a café. We are also very much aware of the Pavilion’s anniversary in our design for the 15th annual commission. The structure therefore had to be – without resembling previous Pavilions – a tribute to them all and a homage to all the stories told within those designs.’

On Friday nights, between July and September, the Pavilion will once again become the stage for the Serpentine’s Park Nights sponsored for the third year by COS. The events bring together art, poetry, music, film, literature and theory and include three new major commissions by artists Jesse Darling, Fleur Melbourn and Marianna Simnett.

The Serpentine is delighted that Goldman Sachs is the headline sponsor of this year’s Pavilion. AECOM, in collaboration with David Glover, will again provide engineering and technical design services. While this is the third Serpentine Pavilion for AECOM, David Glover has worked on the majority of Pavilion designs to date.

Michael Sherwood and Richard Gnodde, Co-Chief Executive Officers, Goldman Sachs International, said:

’London is one of the world’s leading financial and cultural centres and we believe that projects like the Pavilion encourage and inspire the exchange of ideas and perspectives across generations, reflecting the important role that businesses can play in supporting art and culture in the UK.’