This Year's Serpentine Pavilion Has Landed - We Took A Look

By M@

Last Updated 05 June 2024

This Year's Serpentine Pavilion Has Landed - We Took A Look
The Serpentine Pavilion 2024
Image: Matt Brown

Forget "the first swallow of summer". The arrival of the Serpentine Pavilion is London's sign that the sunny season is here.

The annual Summer Pavilion at Serpentine Gallery has just been revealed. And it's a doozy.

Each year, the gallery unveils a unique, custom-made pavilion for its summer programme of talks and performances. Most of the time, though, it serves as an eye-catching place for park-goers to explore and relax.

Minsuk Cho introduces the pavilion. Image: Matt Brown

This, the 23rd Serpentine Pavilion, was designed by Seoul-based Korean architect Minsuk Cho and his firm Mass Studies. Their creation looks something like a shooting star from above:

A render of the 2024 Serpentine Pavilion from above
Render showing the pavilion from above. © Mass Studios

But that's not the impression at ground level. The pavilion is tantalisingly named Archipelagic Void, which sounds like silly artspeak but actually makes some sense. The central space is indeed a void, around which five 'islands' emanate (the archipelago).

Auditorium of the 2024 Serpentine Pavilion
The Auditorium, the main event space

Like Darwin's finches, each island has been through its own evolutions. The largest — the tail of the shooting star — is like an urban barn, with benches along each wall. This is the main event space.

On the next 'island', we find "The Library of Unread Books" by artist Heman Chong and archivist Renée Staal. Again, the name is literal. This is a collection of books donated by people who have never read them. You are encouraged to read on their behalf.

Unread books. Image: Matt Brown

The third island is a cafe space — an expected feature of each Serpentine Pavilion. Then comes the 'play tower', an upthrusting space filled with orange netting, for children to clamber about on. It's a lovely touch. These spaces often neglect smaller visitors.

Serpentine pavilion play space
Playful space for children. Image: Matt Brown

The final space is visually featureless, but is brought to life by a mesmeric sound installation by Jang Young-Gyu.

Altogether, this is a homely yet playful pavilion, more welcoming than many of its predecessors. It will be curious to see how the space is brought to life by the events programme, which includes music, dance, talks and more.

Serpentine Pavilion is at the southern Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens from 7 June to 27 October 2024. Entrance is free.