Hyde Parklife – By Design

Now in its twelfth year, London’s Serpentine Gallery commissions an architect to design a temporary pavilion in the surrounding Hyde Park as a gathering place for visitors to hear lectures and soak up the atmosphere. This year, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei along with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have created a mirror-like, disc-shaped pool of water that stands some 1.4 metres high on twelve columns, which represent the past eleven pavilions, plus this one; which takes on the form of a cosy cork-lined sunken space with various height cork stools. The insulating nature of cork makes it a cosy, inviting and almost secret place on which to peer out and watch the world.

Due to the current restrictions on Ai Weiwei’s movements, he was forbidden from visiting site, as he cannot leave Beijing, but instead used Skype to refine the design.Open from now until 14th October, the structure will be removed and relocated by its sponsor, Indian steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal.Whilst I applaud this wonderful design, I wonder if landscape architects will ever get the chance to create their vision of summer life in the park.

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