Serpentine Pavilion by Diébédo Francis Keré

Serpentine Pavilion 2017

The annual Serpentine Pavilion is a great moment in the London design calendar. Now in its 17th year, the Pavilion, commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery,  is designed by an architect who has no previous built projects in the UK – previous Pavilion architects include the late Zaha Hadid, Peter Zumthor and last year, Bjarke Ingels. This year’s joyous Pavilion is designed by the Burkina Faso born, Diébédo Francis Keré, founder of Berlin-based Kéré Architects. The Pavilion is made from blue-stained pine, slender steel structures, and a wooden roof that fans out from a central funnel. The extended circular roof is designed to provide shade for the central courtyard during the summer as well as all important protection from rain. It has also been cleverly designed to channel rainwater into collection tanks, which are then used to help water the park. During the recent wet weather, it resembled a magical waterfall and provided a welcome respite from a sudden rainstorm. The Pavilion has a wonderfully surreal aesthetic, with a bold indigo blue wooden structure ringing the central canopy, providing an almost Yves Klein contrasting pop of colour against the greenery of Kensington Gardens. This choice of colour, I later learnt is inspired by a traditional blue boubou, worn by eager young men in Burkina Faso keen to impress on a date. Likewise, this year’s Pavilion does not fail to impress.

The Serpentine Pavilion.  Until  8 Oct 2017.