- Das Bus, The Simpsons
We could claim that we were there to see what the new Hilly Fields cafe could be like with enough ambition, but honestly, there's no real Brockley-based justification for this story.
The new Serpentine Pavilion opened to the public this weekend. Designed by Jean Nouvel (who's also the architect of One New Change, a new retail centre opposite St Paul's and sort-of-accessible via the ELL) it uses lightweight materials and an intensely and inescapably red colour scheme. The building encourages you to walk through it, with revolving doors, open sides and bewildering angles, which make it hard work out where the building ends.
Nouvel wanted to create a 'sun machine', but on a genuinely hot day it's too efficient a mechanism: it felt suffocating, the red filter intensifying the effect of the sun. The outdoor areas, however, work beautifully. The lucky few who bagged a lounger or a hammock were content to stay there all day, the rest of us could enjoy the flowerbeds (planted with strawberries and tomatoes to complete the effect) and the table tennis.
Beautiful to behold but as tough to endure on a hot day as a sauna, a visit to the pavilion is best followed by a picnic in the grass - not least because like everywhere else in Hyde Park, the bar struggled to keep up with demand.