Review: Sou Fujimoto's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

By Ruth Hazard | 08 June 2013

Installation review: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013 Designed by Sou Fujimoto, Serpentine Gallery, London, until October 20 2013

A photo of an installation of white pipes under a dark blue sky on grassland
© Sou Fujimoto Architects. Photo: Iwan Baan 2013
The new Serpentine Pavilion is extraordinary, in the truest sense of the word. On the one hand, a rigid construction of frames and grids, yet at the same time mind bogglingly formless. Sou Fujimoto has pulled off quite a feat.

At just 41, the Japanese-born rising star of design is the youngest architect to take on the Serpentine pavilion commission.  With a history of innovative projects that tackle the boundaries between architecture and nature, Fujimoto cites organic inspirations of clouds, plants and forests.

Niftily crafted into a delicate lattice structure and with a transparent polycarbonate disc invisible roof, the entrancing 350 square metre structure has been envisaged to “melt” into the surrounding greenery of Kensington Gardens.

Somewhere between nest and cave, the real joy of the pavilion is its interactivity; visitors can literally climb its insides, choosing to rest at staggered level vantage points dependent on the severity of their vertigo.

It’s clear Fujimoto wanted this to be a social space; clambering over and around strangers has the unique ability to break down the standard boundaries of etiquette, while the spacious open layout at its centre begs for people to gather, drink and chatter.

Bridging the gap between burly and beautiful, it’s a bold vision indeed, and one that’s bound to have fans wondering what on earth Fujimoto will think of next.

  • Open 10am-6pm. Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @SerpentineUK.

More pictures:

A photo of people standing on white pole steps in a park
© Sou Fujimoto Architects. Photo: Jim Stephenson
A photo of a pavilion made out of white poles on grassland
© Sou Fujimoto Architects. Photo: Iwan Baan 2013
A photo of a pavilion made out of white poles on grassland
© Studio Cyrille Thomas for Sou Fujimoto Architects
A photo of a pavilion made out of white poles on grassland
© Studio Cyrille Thomas for Sou Fujimoto Architects
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