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September 11, 2006

{     Rem Koolhaas Pavillion     } missed out on Thomas Demand's first solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery (London), but you still have time to see his paper-on-wallpaper piece inside the Serpentine Pavillion 2006. Not that Demand's wallpaper is the only thing making the trip worth, since the Pavillion is in itself a work of art: a temporary structure designed and built in 3 months and open to the public as a stylish cafe' for other three during the summer. Since the beginning of this project in 2000, 6 between the most influencial architects of the globe have donned the Serpentine Gallery with a freestanding pavillion embedded into Hyde Park: my favourite was the two-floor house signed by the genius of Brazilian, 90 years old Oscar Niemayer himself in 2003. This year, this honour has been taken on by Rem Koolhaas together with the structural designer Cecil Balmond. And the result is definitely worth experiencing. You enter into a semi-transparent round circle on top of which sits a big translucent baloon filled with air and able to raise and lower itself on the transparent ring below according to the weather and is lit by the inside at night time. The effect of all this white light is pretty impressive and on the inside, from where you can see Thomas Demand's square structure raised below the ceiling, the feeling is of total separation from the rest of the world, which you see blurred through the transparent walls. The furniture of the cafe' is pretty bare but nevertheless striking: cubes and box-shaped solid blocks of a stiff, black, sponge material act as chairs, tables and foot rest, to be assembled at your leasure until you find the most comfortable position to sip the cappuccino you just got at the small cafe' inside. If you need more entertainment, flat screens hanging on the "walls" display a series of digital art pieces and the pavillion is also used to screen films and guest live talks. Also, after the 24 hours interview marathon with Koolhaas that opened the structure in July, another public meeting with the architect and his entourage will mark the dismantling of it In October. You have time until 10/15 to peek in.

     » Serpentine Official Site

By Tacita in Singles

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