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

art july in london - part 2

Summer Exhibition - Royal Academy of Arts

triton III by bryan kneale by you.
Triton III by Bryan Kneale

triton III by bryan kneale by you.

As usual, the summer exhibition in Royal Academy of Arts is promised to be a show with a great variety of works. However, I have to express my disappointment over the layout in the Architectue Room (Room VI). In the past, one could easily get close to the architectural drawings and models to appreciate the level of details they possess. Not any more this year. The room is packed like a warehouse, with 3 levels of shelves along the wall. It is impossible to reach at least 1/3 of the exhibits. Is RAA trying to accomodate as many works as possible for sole profiteering (they get 30% commission of all works sold in the show)?

summer exhibition . royal academy of arts by you.
Works cramped altogether in the Architecture Room

summer exhibition . royal academy of arts by you.
Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain by Damien Hirst


Joel Shapiro at 23 Saville Row

23 saville row by you.

23 saville row by you.

American artist Joel Shapiro was commissioned to produce an installation at the entrance of the office-retail development. His free-floating forms standing out sharply from the monolithic facade of the building. The reflective glass around produce even more drama on these 'flying' tubes.


Serpentine Pavilion 2009

serpentine pavilion 2009 by you.

SANAA designs the Serpentine Pavilion this year. Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA says, "The pavilion is designed to amplify the way things look." The enormous mirror-finished aluminium roof definitely could make it happen - unless you are a blind. You see EVERYTHING twice once you walk near the pavilion, because the mirror image and its original subjects are reciprocal to each other.

You could see how the pavilion is constructed through time in this wonderful website. Now I start to feel sorry for the roof cleaners with the amount of pigeons around!

serpentine pavilion 2009 by you.
People relaxing on SANAA-designed furniture

serpentine pavilion 2009 by you.
The lowered polished aluminium roof attracts kids to play beneath

serpentine pavilion 2009 by you.
The cafe area - people queuing for drinks

serpentine pavilion 2009 by you.
Many slender steel poles to support the roof - some pokes fun of the absence of pole dancers

full photo set here

Further reading -
Official website of RAA's Summer Exhibition 2009
Royal Academy of Arts page on Triton III
Bryan Kneale page in RAA
Official website of 23 Saville Row, see the 'Art' section for the creation process of Joel Shapiro for the installation.
Installation process of Joel's sculpture
Official profile sheet of 23 Saville Row from its architect Eric Parry Architects
An interivew with Joel Shapiro by Robert Ayers in 2007
Official page of Serpentine Pavilion 2009
An interivew with SANAA by in 2005
Review of SANAA's pavilion by Jonathan Glancey of Guardian UK