The latest design for the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens is now open to the public.
The multi-coloured plastic chrysalis style structure is the work of Madrid-based architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano, who formed the SelgasCano studio in 1998.
The New York Times called the design “the most playful and unpretentious” in the 15-year history of the pavilions and added it was “a jolt of vitamin D against inconstant British skies”.
“It is as much a reminder of the experimental role that architects play in shaping our environment as it is yet more proof of art’s fun-loving side”.
The Daily Telegraph said it had discovered a “secret corridor” between the “day-glo chrysalis” while The Guardian added it was a “psychedelic labyrinth” which “exudes joy, mischief and a welcome dose of Spanish sunshine.”
The newspaper said: “It looks as if an exotic caterpillar might have nibbled on a magic mushroom before spinning its chrysalis.”
Another inspiration for the design was the intricate network of tunnels and tracks which form the London Underground system. But the overall influences on the husband and wife team are far ranging. Asked about their work recently, the duo quoted the social theorist Zygmunt Bauman’s statement: “Nothing is necessary.”
The team qualified the statement by adding they were talking about the future, convinced that “as humans, as architects . . . we need to do, to build, very little”.
Other notable inspirations film-makers Werner Herzog, who directed movies such as Nosferatu and Grizzly Man and La Dolce Vita film-maker Federico Fellini, alongside the likes of writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, medieval epic poet Wolfram von Eschenbach and Czech photographer Miroslav Tichy.
Other works include is a huge dockside conference centre in Cartagena, Spain, designed to resemble a vast shipping container, its trans¬lucent walls enlivened by a rainbow array of Day-Glo plastic tubes.
The pair designed an installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale intended to explore the disruptive nature of development on nature with fast-growing plants suspended in a network of textured tubes. They were also behind an auditorium on the edge of the Spanish city of Cáceres that looks like a crash-landed alien greenhouse, its bright orange stuck out towards the city like a tongue.