It's bigger on the inside...
That Whovian-esque thought was the first thing that struck us when wandering around and through 2019's Serpentine Pavilion. The roof emerges from the earth and from certain angles, it's hard to imagine anyone taller than five foot six would be able to stand upright beneath it. But then you walk inside and you're greeted by a lofty, airy space.
The Doctor Who comparisons end there. Whereas the Tardis exists in the world of science-fiction, Junya Ishigami's Serpentine Pavilion lives in a purely natural world. It's cave-like in its design, and fits the surrounding landscape like a glove. That is partially because said landscape has been moulded to enhance the pavilion, with sections of earth raised to match the sloping roof.
The roof takes the form of a sheet, one that's gracefully lifted by a breeze caught beneath. Despite looking so bright and airy, it's anything but — it's made up of slates that weigh 61 tonnes in total. It's mesmerising to look at, an armadillo-like shell, protecting all that lies beneath.
The pavilion has a small café inside, and a smattering of seats and tables to sit yourself down and enjoy the space. It will also host a series of events this summer, including Park Nights — the pavilion's version of a museum late — where you can expect live music, poetry, art, theatre, fashion and augmented reality.
Junya Ishigami said of the pavilion:
A stone creates a landscape, and a landscape usually sits outside of a building. I wanted to create the landscape inside the building, as a theory of the landscape that the stone creates outside. In that sense, I tried to create this landscape that exists outside, inside the building itself.
The Serpentine Pavilion 2019 by Junya Ishigami is open 21 June-6 October 2019, and is free to visit.
All images by the author.