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SelgasCano’s kaleidoscopic chrysalis at Serpentine Pavilion

SelgasCano’s kaleidoscopic chrysalis at Serpentine Pavilion


Above image: Serpentine Pavilion designed by SelgasCano 2015. External indicative CGI © Steven Kevin Howson / SelgasCano

The much anticipated design for this year’s Serpentine Pavilion has been revealed, with renders of a prismatic cocoon released by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano. Led by José Selgas and Lucía Cano, SelgasCano is the first Spanish architecture practice to have been given the coveted opportunity to design the Serpentine Pavilion.

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Serpentine Pavilion designed by SelgasCano 2015. Indicative CGI, night © Steven Kevin Howson / SelgasCano


Situated at the Royal Park in London’s Kensington Gardens, the kaleidoscopic exterior cladding, made of translucent fluorine-plastic fabric (ETFE) strips, allows the pavilion to remain open and porous, to engage freely with its surrounds. Within the webbed structure are a series of concealed spaces, including a ‘secret corridor’ providing access between the outer and inner tunnels of the structure. As day turns to night, the structure will act as a iridescent beacon against the green environment.


SelgasCano’s exuberant Factoría Joven in Merida, Spain. Image: Iwan Baan.


SelgasCano are renowned for their playful, joyous use of colour and polygonal forms. They design spaces and buildings that ilicit an emotional response, giving priority to the experiential quality of the built environment. Describing their work at the pavilion, SelgasCano state, “the spatial qualities of the Pavilion only unfold when accessing the structure and being immersed within it.”

“We are also very much aware of the Pavilion’s anniversary in our design for the 15th annual commission,” SelgasCano said. “The structure therefore had to be – without resembling previous Pavilions – a tribute to them all and a homage to all the stories told within those designs.”


SelgasCano’s exuberant Factoría Joven in Merida, Spain. Image: Iwan Baan.


This year, the Serpentine Pavilion program celebrates its 15th anniversary as a platform where leading international architects are invited to experiment, creating highly conceptual temporary spaces. In its time, the eponymous gallery has hosted some of the most influential figures in contemporary architecture, including: Sou Fujimoto, 2013; Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei, 2012; Frank Gehry, 2008; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, who designed the inaugural Pavilion in 2000.


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