how to fill up a space with flowers or cardboards

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011
by Peter Zumthor and Piet Oudolf

The black box exterior has a reclusive swiss flavour often found in Zumthor's architecture

To enjoy the annual Serpentine Pavilion under the summer sun is not something you can plan to do in a weekend, because of the english weather. But in the latest edition of the Pavilion series which began 11 years ago, we conclude that the pavilion has equal charm whether you're going there on a sunny or rainy day (but probably not so good if it's overcast).

While Jean Nouvel's signature red pavilion has never tried to blend in the surrounding landscape, Peter Zumthor's pavilion is by no means relating itself to the gallery next to it either, although it is much more understated. However, when we see pictures of this year's pavilion online under the rain, the rain doesn't simply fall along the roof - it transforms the pavilion when it glides along the roof. A curtain of water dripping from the roof down divides the seating area and the central garden, giving the whole experience its Zumthor's touch of zen.

The 'secret garden'  reveals once you walked into the pavilion

The highlight of the pavilion is the flowers in the central courtyard. And they are best experienced when the sun is present. So if you come to visit the pavilion on a sunny day, you will not be able to feel the effect of the rain on the architecture. And if you come in a rainy day, the blossoming flowers would be less vivid than they are under the sun.

Dutch landscape design Piet Oudolf's selection of plants capture every visitor's admiration

Serpentine Pavilion 2011 - video link

Texture of the walls

The sun beams through tree shades and the pavilion's roof

Full photo set here

The Mirror of Judgement by Michelangelo Pistoletto
Serpentine Gallery

Michelangelo Pisolleto's use of ordinary corrugated boards has a distilling effect of calmness despite the lack of order in the folds of the boards

The exhibition inside the Serpentine Gallery is equally dramatic as the Pavilion's floral show. Italian artist Michelangelo Pisolleto created a labyrinth path experience within the gallery and placed objects at several stops within the maze. The random nature of the corrugated board folds resembles the organic variety of the flowers in the pavilion.

The gallery is transformed into a maze

Both the pavilion and the exhibition have invited the visitors to indulge in a journey of discovery and re-discovery, creating a subtle link which one may not realise in the beginning but connect to the element of labyrinth in traditional european gardens. We truly enjoy this co-incidental surprise.


Further Readings -
Page - official page of the Pavilion (2011)
Page - official page of the exhibition
Review - Piet Oudolf's garden at the Serpentine Gallery pavilion by Joanna Fortnam for the Telegraph, 29.07.2011
Review -  by Florence Waters for the Telegraph, 28.07.2011
Wiki - entry for Piet Oudolf
Archive - blog post on Serpentine Pavilion 2009

a stroll in kensington gardens

Turning the World Upside Down - Anish Kapoor
Kensington Gardens
28.09.2010 – 13.03.2011
Philippe Parreno
Serpentine Gallery

Non-Object (Spire) by Anish Kapoor (2008)
Last Sunday I headed to Kensington Gardens after brunch to catch the Anish Kapoor sculptures which were not seen a month ago (seen 2 on a sunny day, as you can see in the photo slideshow below) -
Full photo set
Kapoor's mirror-finish sculptures have a subliminal character which goes well with the natural setting of the park. You cannot say they have blended themselves in, as clearly they are all very visible and stand out from the surroundings. However, their existence seems to create an extra dimension to the space they inhibits. The distorted surfaces reflecting the surroundings produce a different version of the world to the audience, something intriguing even you have seen a hundred times. It is poetic sci-fi material, if you agree : )
Afterwards I turned to Serpentine Gallery to get my copy of 032c in their book shop. Since the demise of Borders, it has been a gain in my wallet but a loss in my magazine diet to explore periodical publications in London, with the exception of museum bookshops in Tate, Whitechapel Gallery & Serpentine Gallery.
032c A/W 2010
This is the 20th issue of the magazine. Based in Berlin, 032c has its 10th anniversary this year. Just like the reputation of Berlin being the hippest european capital from the millennium, nobody should judge this magazine from its sketchy graphic layout compared to perfectionist layout like Monocle. The magazine has one of the most lengthy articles I would ever willing to spend $ to buy a copy, and they consistently reach out to people from various disciplines to provide a dazzling spectrum of knowledge to the readers. Having said that, I have to admit the only time I can finish a whole issue is usually on a plane, striped out of any possible distractions so I can focus on reading and digesting the contents due to its "unfriendly" layout to my eyes... (clearly I'm a bit spoilt by conventional layouts!) 
Odd addition to the Gallery facade

Before I stepped into the Gallery, I discovered a few little purple gloves on the window-wall. Are they part of the coming Philippe Parreno show?

Actually, the Gallery has just announced 2 weeks ago a new venue inside Kensington Gardens will be constructed and managed by them. Currently the Magazine Building, Zaha Hadid will transform it into the Serpentine Sackler Gallery with the donation from The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.

Back to the bookshop. Apart from 032c, I also noticed Apollo has Antony Gormley on their cover -

Feature in Apollo (11/2010) on Antony Gormley: Figuring it Out

And then this mysterious new title caught my eyes - 

The Hub's debut issue - Never Neverland

Turned out it's a new launch based in London. The Hub is essentially like what its name said, a collection of art, culture, fashion happenings selected for its readers - a printed concierge for the urban troops. I like its layout and use of hand-drawn illustrations (at least they appear like so), a stark contrast to 032c! But it takes time to see if this experiment is going to have the same level of success like its competitors, all over the shelf in the bookshop. Good luck!