Sou Fujimoto

Serpentine Pavilion Sou Fujimoto 2013

The 2013 Serpentine Pavilion has been open just over a week... I always look forward to this time of the year when the space outside the gallery is transformed for the summer. This year's pavilion has been designed by the Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.

Sou Fujimoto's design is an interesting space that can morph into the landscape it sits. From certain angles it appears to be floating in space, transparent or partially visible. On closer inspection the white steel poles are highly structured and strong.

Compared to the last couple of years where Zumthor and Weiwei created quite dark immersive pavilions 2013 shows a departure from the darkness and cavernous qualities evident within the previous couple of spaces. I think I was lucky to have experienced a blue sky the day I visited as one of the best moments was looking straight up towards the skyline through the carefully constructed composition of grids. 

As well as the open space in the centre of the pavilion where tables and chairs are available to sit and have a drink, there are glass panelled sections elevated at different heights throughout the space where you can sit and take in the atmosphere, people watch or simply rest for a moment. 

Inside the space I would say that there is more formality compared to Ai Weiwei's pavilion last year. My over - riding memory was that there were lots of children interacting with the space and there being an openness to navigate through and around with great ease, the cork interior was soft and forgiving.

This pavilion feels as though it's a space that's more suited to adults.... although it has an ethereal quality to the aesthetic upon interaction it's solid strong and highly structured. The surfaces are hard the steps leading to higher levels are steep because it follows a strict cube format. There is an essence of a complex scaffolding system when you look up into core sections but the whiteness instantly pulls us back into a designed architectural experience.

I really enjoyed this space it felt fresh and liberating I liked the juxtapositions within the design. 
Soft and airy vs strong and structured. Being open and closed, inside, outside 
the air flow and light it would be interesting to re visit to see how the atmosphere may change in different weather conditions or during the evening in fading light. 

Sou Fujimoto 1:1 architects build small spaces V&A

I am notoriously bad at remembering names and particularly names of artists makers designers until they have made a firm visual imprintation. 
However, I am good at recognising works so when Sou Fujimoto was announced as this year's Serpentine pavilion designer immediately I thought I haven't heard of this architect before !

Then I realised that Sou Fujimoto had exhibited inside/outside tree in the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2010 at the 1:1 Architects build small spaces. 
An exhibition that looked at spaces being used as places for retreat or refuge once again this was also prominent within my own work during this time so it was fascinating to see how architects had dealt with the subject as they normally work on a much larger scale. 
Where smaller spaces require an intimacy.

Cover image of catalogue  

I loved this exhibition so much I visited it twice and bought the catalogue.... 
Once I had reacquainted myself with the work I instantly recognised it.

Inside/Outside Tree was positioned at the top of the staircase outside the architecture gallery and I remember struggling to photograph the structure because I couldn't really step way enough to do the work justice.

 Here's a link to design boom where it can bee seen more clearly.

Image taken from the V&A catalogue copyright belongs to Sou Fujimoto and V&A publishing 

Taken from V&A catalogue copyright belongs to Sou Fujimoto and V&A publishing 

Taken from V&A catalogue copyright belongs to Sou Fujimoto and V&A publishing 

It's interesting to see a similar aesthetic between the serpentine pavilion and inside/Outside Tree.

and a linear quality to the structure is also evident in both 

I think the Serpentine pavilion has such a strong resonance with me right now. I
 find myself seeing similarities between some of the key elements Sasha and I are working on within lucid space. 
The overall aesthetic is quite different but the ideas and thinking underpinning it are coming from a similar place. 
I can't wait to see it in the flesh and experience the space myself in June when it opens. It's going to be such a contrast to the previous two pavilions which have been quite dark and more cavernous.  

Image taken from