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A colorful cocoon with a host of surprises

Projects | July 1, 2015 | By:

The 15th Annual Serpentine Pavilion in London features a design by SelgasCano that plays with color, form and light to enable visitors to experience architecture through simple, natural elements. Photos: Serpentine Pavilion designed by SelgasCano 2015. External indicative CGI. © Steven Kevin Howson / SelgasCano

Every year since 2000, London’s Serpentine Gallery looks to the world’s most innovative architects to commission a design for its Serpentine Pavilion on the lawn of Kensington Gardens. While the design is limited only by the architect’s imagination, a few of the requirements are that it be a flexible social space that includes a café, and open throughout the summer. This year, Madrid-based SelgasCano was chosen to continue the tradition. Known for bold, contemporary design that seems to fit organically in the natural world, husband-and-wife team José Selgas and Lucía Cano sought to create a structure that is all about the visitor’s experience while fitting into the landscape of the surrounding area. They are the first Spanish architects to design the pavilion, and are planning to create a playful, fluid structure that will take visitors on a journey through color and light.

SelgasCano likes to experiment with unorthodox materials, and this design is no exception. The polygonal structure features a double-layered shell made of an opaque and translucent fluorine-based plastic (ETFE) that incorporates multiple colors and is wrapped in webbing.

The design plays with form, structure, light, transparency, variation and color to heighten the experience throughout the space. There are multiple entrances, each sending visitors on a distinct journey. A “secret corridor” between the outer and inner layer of the structure leads to an interior with a magnificent stained-glass effect. At the center is a café and gathering space.


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