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— urbantick

Red and Green

The latest Serpentine Summer Pavilion opened last week on the 10th of July. Find last years post HERE.It is designed buy the French architect Jen Nouvel and probably one of his first structures in Britain.
It is red, actually really red! According to Nouvel, ‘the red accelerates the green, the green accelerates the red.’ This highlights the importance of the context. Being there, in the park, is being part of the context and there is no escape of either red nor green. Even though most of the Hydepark is actually rather more brown than green currently, the Serpentine is really quite green. Limiting the colour palet to just one colour and this being red simplifies this contextual relationship and makes it even more present.

Image by urbanTick / The Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2010 by Jean Nouvel – red and geen : inside and outside.

The structure is actually not only temporal in its conception, but also in its realisation. It is based on the beams and pillars to carry large roll-up red sun screens. Practically it constantly changes its shape and extend (also see video on Vimeo with a timelapse). Nouvel plays with the levels too. To the Serpentine Galerie, the pavilion is slightly lowered. Depending on the position of the sun screens the visitor can see a the large red roof framed by the green canopies of the trees, or if the roof is rolled up, the green can be seen through the structure. Also on the interior of the pavilion the levels are used. There are tables and seats lowered in to the grown in the back of the cafe, sort of in the 60s style. In terms of materials Nouvel sticks to his love of industrial products and for example uses red and green outdoor rubber or porous polymeric athletics track surface for the flooring.
For a contextual review read the Independent article on the pavilion. Archidose covers the pavilion with a few images too. Overall the reaction s haven’t been to excited. However, I found the colour contrast really fascinating.

The contrast of the red and green is so great that it defines the inside and outside definite. Even thought the structure is completely open the distinction could not be greater. I is sort of impossible to blur the line between the green and red and it at times appears to mirror the opposite colour. It created a distance between the inside and outside and looking out is definitely the preferred direction. The red framing of the geen is easier on the eye.