Souzou, Hyde Park

We spent an afternoon with friends two weekends ago, first to see an exhibition in the Wellcome Collection near Euston Station followed by a stroll around Hyde Park. Here we walked past London’s possibly most exclusive real estate address (1 Hyde Park) on our way to this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavillon, designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.


Serpentine Gallery Pavillon by Sou Fujimoto

The excellent Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan is absolutely worth seeing before it ends at end of June. This is art made largely in social welfare institutions, without an audience in mind. I wasn’t aware of the term and concept before and found it interesting to read the curator’s essay on the differing origin of the idea in a European and Japanese context.

Here is the exhibition’s advertisement:

One Hyde Park was the world’s most expensive apartment development when opened two years ago, at least that’s how the legend goes. Starchitect firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has created a luxury enclave for the world’s super rich. Naturally for this location and the project’s scale, much has been written about the building’s architecture.


Residents want to be in the heart of London while maintaining the privacy they’re used to from comparable and more escapist developments outside the city centers. That is probably why the architecture is not iconic or monumental but almost subdued. There is not much going on outside except for security personnel doing their rounds. Cars are quietly coming in through underground parking.


This year’s pavillon at the Serpentine Gallery made for a great final stop on our tour. At 41, Suo Fujimoto is the world’s youngest ever architect to design this prestigious temporary structure. It looks a little bit like a cloud from far away and turns into a white steel grid, interspersed with plastic to keep away the rain and offer seating area for those climbing the pavillon.


This is the architect’s first ever commission in the UK. His body of work is impressive and surely to gain more prominence given this career boost.

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