The Serpentine Gallery pavilion is one of the highlights of the artistic summer in London. It allows the selected architect to create a small jewel in the landscape of Kensington Gardens. The Gallery has announced the designer of this year’s pavilion as Smiljan Radic from Santiago, who will create what appears to be a flying saucer balanced on prehistoric boulders.
Radic explained: The Serpentine Pavilion “has become a sort of urban ceremony. The beautiful thing is that every year this appears and it’s like a party, something important for the city. The ephemeral element is really important.”
The design will comprise a white translucent fibreglass shell which will glow in the parkland at night. Radic said the pavilion “is part of the history of small romantic constructions seen in parks or large gardens, the so-called follies, which were hugely popular from the end of the 16th century to the start of the 19th”.
Radic is not well known outside Chile, so this is a great opportunity for him to bring his unique design philosophy to the UK. Previously, he used Oscar Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant” to explore the tension between public and private. In the story, a giant builds a wall to keep children out of his garden but the garden dies. The Serpentine Pavilion would appear to be a development of this. It will be fascinating to see it when it opens later this year.