We shared the news of Jean Nouvel’s Serpentine Gallery with you as soon as it was completed at the beginning of July. Today, we’re featuring Jonathan Glancey’s talk with Nouvel about his red ‘sun machine’, the 10th design to grace the Serpentine’s grounds. Nouvel describes the pavilion as a “simple place” that can accommodate the needs of its users, from providing a place to sit down to the amenities for a friendly game of ping-pong.
More about the pavilion after the break.
While join by their common color theme, the layers of different materiality create variety within the project. As the wind blows, red fabric flutters with the breeze and as the sun strikes, red shadows from transparent blocks dance across the grass. Everything from the structural elements down the floor treatment shines red.
In his interview with Glancey, Nouvel speaks about his color choice, “In one way, the pavilion is a sun machine, a way of directing sunlight. In another, it is a fragile flower that rises in the park in the summer sun, wilts in the autumn, and then vanishes. Of course, red is also the colour of London in some ways – the buses, the pillar boxes, the soldiers for the Queen – but mostly red is about the sun.”
Unlike past pavilions, specifically SANAA’s 2009 vision, Nouvel’s project is strikingly bold and quite eyecatching. “You walk past the park. You look. You catch the red between the trees. What is it? Sails? A circus? Something. You don’t know what, so you have to look,” Nouvel told Glancey.