Entertainment & Arts

Press views: Serpentine Pavilion 2014

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Media captionThe new pavilion opens to the public on Thursday

London's Serpentine Gallery has unveiled the latest of its annual pavilions, a temporary structure resembling a giant misshapen doughnut.

Created by the Chilean architect Smiljan Radic, the temporary fibreglass structure balances on a series of huge boulders and is open on one side.

Designed to be a multi-purpose social space, the pavilion opens to the public on Thursday and will remain in situ until 19 October.

Here is what critics had to say about Hyde Park's newest eye-catching edifice.

Daily Telegraph - Ellis Woodman

If Smiljan Radic represents an unknown quantity for a British audience, the spectacularly madcap construction that he has erected on the Serpentine Gallery's lawn will certainly prompt many to find out more.

Seeming to belong at once to a world of science-fiction and to a primordial past, the pavilion could well serve as the film set for a post-apocalyptic drama.

And yet seen in the bucolic setting of Kensington Gardens, it also invites association with the use of ruins and grottoes in the 18th Century English landscape garden.

What is most captivating about Radic's heroically peculiar pavilion is the way that it seems to stand out of time.

Read the full review here.

Evening Standard - Robert Bevan

For the Serpentine Gallery's 14th Pavilion, Smiljan Radic has created a large delicate eggshell perched on a scattering of massive boulders.

His combination of a light upper form and heavy stones below turns what could have been a straightforward recreation of a Neolithic monument into something vaguely alien and futuristic.

The structure is also inspired by Oscar Wilde's short story for children, The Selfish Giant, in which the giant's castle garden becomes locked in an eternal winter when he refuses to share its beauty with the local children.

Perhaps the large flat stone, like a sacrificial altar that Radic has placed below his pavilion, lies there waiting for Narnia's Aslan.

Read the full review here.

The Guardian - Olivier Wainwright

This year's Serpentine pavilion is the weirdest structure yet to have graced the west London lawn.

Unless you are familiar with life as a moth in the pupal stages, it is unlikely you'll have been in anything quite like it.

Layering fibreglass sheets over a doughnut-shaped mould, Radic has built up a translucent shell of impossible fragility, forming a skin just 10mm thick, which seems to hover above its rocky foundations.

During the day, this rough-cast blob, which was made in Yorkshire, has the solidity of a pebble. But once inside, or when seen by night, it glows with a yellowish tinge, its fibrous surface giving it the look of shed skin.

Read the full report here.

The Times - Richard Morrison

The mollusc has landed. Or maybe it's an alien space-pod that has somehow come to rest daintily on a seemingly random array of granite boulders.

Either way, this summer's temporary pavilion outside the Serpentine Gallery in London will probably be declared the weirdest concoction in the 14 years that the scheme has been running.

The inside - scooped out to reveal the boulders and grass below - is even stranger. You feel as if you are walking through a cave held together by glue and masking tape.

Rarely can advanced design engineering have been employed to convey such a makeshift look.

Read the full report here (subscription required).

Image copyright PA
Image caption Smiljan Radic in front of his pavilion

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