Wednesday, 22 July 2009

SANAA Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa: Serpentine Pavilion, London

It is hard to put in words the effect of this extraordinary intervention by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa at The Serpentine Gallery in London. A sinuous silhouette characterises the slender reflective roof suspended on tentative mirrored columns above a simple screeded floor. Those are the bare facts.
But the impact of these simple gestures are magical. The rhyming of columns and trees is a commonplace of organic design but is here given literal depth with the doubling of the column height through reflection. The depth of the visual field collapses through the folding in on themselves of covered and uncovered spaces. The implicit gravity of light from the sky is brought into doubt, as it is revealed to be a reflection from the ground. And just momentarily one experiences a figure ground reversal, when a solid leaden summer sky contrasts with the light and space seen on highly polished surface.

For a different view of another work by SANAA, their New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, see this film by recent MSA graduates.

Previously published on the Continuity in Architeture blog

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