Attractions industry news

11 Jun 2018

Frida Escobedo's 2018 Serpentine Pavilion ready for public opening

Mexican architect Frida Escobedo's Serpentine Pavilion will open in Kensington Gardens, London on Friday (15 June).

Escobedo’s courtyard-based design harnesses a “subtle interplay of light, water and geometry” and is inspired in part by the domestic architecture of Mexico, the Prime Meridian line at London’s Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and British materials and history.

The pavilion features a black steel frame, with stacks of cement roof tiles making up the walls of the structure and a dark concrete floor. These allow the visitor to focus on what the architect describes as the most important materials of the pavilion: “The reflections of the sky and trees, distorted by the curve of the canopy or the shifting surface of the pool, the dissolving perspective of the surrounding park through the celosia, and the unpredictable play of light and shadow throughout the Pavilion”.

“My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms,” she added.

“I hope visitors will find a space in which the passage of time feels a bit hazy — fun yet meditative, and hopefully engaging the senses in unexpected ways. On a more practical level, I envision it as a good space for conversation, for getting out of the sun, for splashing around in the water a little bit.”

Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel selected Escobedo, who is the 18th to take part in the pavilion programme. In a statement, they described her structure as “a living timepiece in the park, powered by light and the Prime Meridian line.”

“In its beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences, it promises to be a space of reflection and encounter,” they added.

Born in 1979, Escobedo is the youngest architect to have participated in the Serpentine Pavilion programme.

The architect’s prize-winning work in urban reactivation ranges from housing and community centres to hotels and galleries. In 2006, she founded her practice in Mexico City, with significant national projects including the Librería del Fondo Octavio Paz and an extension of La Tallera Siqueiros gallery in Cuernavaca.

Her designs have featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2012 and 2014) and the Lisbon Architecture Triennale (2013).

The pavilion, which will close on 7 October 2018, was constructed in collaboration with engineers AECOM, technical advisor David Glover and construction firm Stage One, who have previously worked on Wolfgang Buttress' Hive and Thomas Heatherwick’s 2012 Olympic cauldron. Goldman Sachs is the headline sponsor.

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