Every year, and this year for the tenth time, the Serpentine Gallery in London commissions an architect's studio to designa temporary installation in Kensington Gardens, not far from the art gallery. What is special about the annual architectural project is that only an architect who has never constructed a building in Great Britain before may be commissioned with the planning. In this respect you could argue it was lucky that it is a summer and not a winter pavilion. Otherwise, French star architect Jean Nouvel would not have been awarded the contract, after all, work is in progress on his shopping center project in London, which is scheduled to open at the end of the year.
The most striking thing about this year's Serpentine Gallery pavilion is that it is red! Jean Nouvel was inspired in his concept by the mood in English parks and the mentality of visitors. The summer pavilion was to be a walk-through structure, open on all sides and, appear interesting and inviting so that people perhaps linger a little longer. The color red stands symbolically for very typical, key English images such as the red telephone boxes, red letter boxes, red roses, and the red double-deckers in London.
Compared with its predecessors from past years, Nouvel's Serpentine pavilion is not particularly spectacular architecturally speaking. This pavilion has something of a garden and tent atmosphere, a twisted beer garden mood and a red-light café. This pavilion is the pavilion of moods. Like a beating heart nestling in a green landscape. All the visitors' activities converge in it. They can play Frisbee or table tennis here, sway gently in hammocks, play chess, picnic, drink coffee or attend events. Like you would in a park, just that everything is somewhat redder here.