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RED-eyed


 
 

in London

 

 

Just opened, in London: Jean Nouvel's Red Sun Pavilion at the Serpentine, London’s beloved art gallery in the Kensington Gardens, named for the nearby lake.  Every year, for the last 10 years, the Serpentine has had a new summer pavilion, designed by an architect of some renown.  Previous offerings have come from Sanaa, Koolhaas, Gehry, Hadid.  This year, the Pavilion has been designed by Jean Nouvel, architect of one our favorite buildings in Paris, the Institut du Monde Arabe and also of the glittering 100 11th Avenue downtown (we love this photograph below--the building sparkling like some delightful creature against the backdrop of brown and gray, as if it were clothed in the glittering water itself...)

 

 

The very nature of the Pavilion project—temporary, ephemeral—let Nouvel do something rather novel...play with color in a manner dramatic, painterly, and bold.  London, of course, brings to mind the red of double-decker buses and phone booths and mailboxes, but Nouvel’s inspiration is far more poetic.  Nouvel's notes for the Red Sun Pavilion, reveal that his use of the color red is closer to Rothko's own in his Seagram Murals which are the subject of the play Red, and to this idea of the sun burning red against closed eyelids, Nouvel adds the explosive vibrancy and harmony created in the use of complementary colors, of red juxtaposed with green.  Nouvel’s notes: FLEETING SUMMER… use summer… the sun… STARE AT THE SUN… filter the sun… a red filter… red as a conductor… RED SUN… a red glow… a red screen… a windbreaker… in the red… A HAZE OF RED… like closing your eyes against the sun… BLURRED… without end… see green through red… filter… sift… RED EXPLODING AGAINST GREEN…!

 

 

Of steel, polycarbonate, glass, and fabric, the temporary structure includes a 39-foot freestanding wall that seemingly defies gravity, and everything is red, gloriously red, unabashedly red--tables, chairs, walls, curtains--all against cooling, contrary, complementary green of grass and trees.  There is a certain playfulness about the space with its ping-pong tables, chessboards, frisbees, and kites....

 

Of course, this being London, the pavilion opened to marvelous wordplay in the press: Rouge Awakening, London’s New Red Light District, The Lure of the Lurid...!

 

 

Visit: Serpentine Gallery 

 

Online: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

 

Read: Institut du Monde Arabe

 

Read: Rothko's use of red

 

Tags: architecture  art  design  red  color    jean_nouvel   london

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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