The youngest ever architect to design the Serpentine Pavilion has turned the building into “a timepiece”.
For this year’s project, Frida Escobedo, 39, has installed mirrored panels on the underside of the building’s canopy and placed a 5mm-deep pool of water on the floor to reflect changes in the sunlight and skyline around Kensington Gardens as the day moves on.
The structure features everyday British cement roof tiles and includes an inner courtyard typical of Mexican architecture. Escobedo, based in Mexico City, said she hoped it would encourage “contemplation and conversation”.
She added: “My design is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms. For the pavilion, we have added the materials of light and shadow, reflection and refraction, turning the building into a timepiece that charts the passage of the day.”
The pavilion will be open to the public from Friday to October 7. It will host a series of Park Nights featuring work by eight artists, as well as Radical Kitchen lunches intended to spark debate about food, politics and art. Since 2000, the temporary pavilion has become a fixture in London’s cultural calendar, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. Previous designers have included Zaha Hadid and Ai Weiwei.
Serpentine Galleries artistic director Hans-Ulrich Obrist and chief executive Yana Peel said this year’s building seemed as though it was “powered by light”. They added: “In its beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences it promises to be a space of reflection and encounter. We hope visitors of all ages will create their own experiences in the pavilion this summer” The commission to design the pavilion is open to architects who have not yet built a permanent structure in the UK.