A sneak peek at the Serpentine Pavilion 2016

A sneak peek at the Serpentine Pavilion 2016

Brick by brick

Text: Adibah Isa

Image: BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group

The Danes have been tasked to impress us at the Serpentine Gallery's annual showcase at Kensington Gardens — here's what they'll deliver

The brief: Every summer, the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens constructs a pavilion to be used as a café by day and a forum by night as an educational and social platform. In its 16th year, the 300m2 Pavilion will bid farewell to its predecessor, the colourful wormhole of wonder.

The architects: While last year's Instagrammer's paradise was tasked to Spaniards José Selgas and Lucía Cano of award-winning studio SelgasCano, the 2016 edition will land in the hands of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG. The Pavilion's in good hands — these are the same guys who designed the new Galleries Lafayette Flagship store on Champs-Élysées.

The process: Starting from a basic element of architecture, the brick wall, BIG unzips that to create a space that flows through it. But instead of clay or stone, imagine a brick wall made of fiberglass frames, 'unzipped' to create a cave-like structure from the inside.

Serpentine 2016

The result: It's a brilliant play of light and shadow to explore from inside and outside, with each surface presenting a glow and texture. The structure seems to trick the eye — from some angles it can look entirely transparent. As you walk through its wooden floors and look up and around you, you'll realise it's a space that changes as you move. As BIG explains, "it's free-form yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both box and blob".

Serpentine Pavilion 2016

Why you'll be back: To score Instagram points. Seriously though, what's not to like about this warped glass wonder? It looks like a bunch of giant ice cubes stacked on top of each other in the height of summer. Apart from this structure, you'll also be able to experience four summer houses inspired by the 18
th-century Queen Caroline's Temple. 


For more information on the Serpentine Gallery, click here.