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Serpentine L.A. and Beyond

The playful Serpentine Pavilion in Los Angles, erected in-between the La Brea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, brings a smile to an area characterized by an eclectic architectural mix.  Designed by Spanish architects José Selgas and Lucía Cano, a design partnership known as  SelgasCano and based in Madrid, was initially commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries in London and installed at the Gallery’s site in London’s Hyde Park back in 2015. Thanks to a partnership between creative workspace Second Home and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, the 866-square-foot area in an X-shaped plan is wrapped with fluorine-based plastic in multiple colors.

What is this work’s main message?

First and foremost, it is experimental.” Architecture as an isolated episode, a gesture, doesn’t interest us. We believe in total freedom to try and respond to concrete needs, which we express via play and the use of color,” says Salgas. “We have no set forms, styles, or concepts; our architecture is generated by reading the places and the lives of those who will live there. We have worked to free ourselves of all the clichés absorbed during our university education, dogmas that have blocked us without us knowing why. Designing is spontaneous and natural. Rejecting stereotypes allowed us to grow and become what we are today.”

Creating temporary pavilions is a subject suitable for experimentation. Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto and hundreds of architects designing for world fairs took their commissions as an opportunity to experiment. The SalgasCano team methodology in some ways echoes Gehry’s playful studies of space. The Serpentine Pavilion in L.A. gives the feeling that everyone could do it, even children. And why not?

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