Not Brockley Central: The Serpentine Pavilion



So the children learned how to function as a society, and eventually they were rescued by, oh, let's say.. Moe.

- 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.

11 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Looks great, of course some will try and make the artificial comparison of how many nurses it would pay for etc....

Mezzer said...

Good review, Nick.

Just about do-able in my lunch hour and so will choose a suitably overcast day..

Anonymous said...

Whats this?: Look at my wonderful life post?

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, because nothing is designed to show off an elite lifestyle like a review of a free thing in a public park in one's home town.

It's just like flicking through the pages of Tatler.

Anonymous said...

hook, line...and sinker

HillyFielder said...

yeah what next a Brockley Nick lifestyle supplement ? When you're tiring of Brockley Life Nick gives you 5 hot tips on the perfect organic day out ? Give it a rest Nick. Stick to the Brockley stuff and leave the wannabe Nigella Lawson/AA Gill crap out thanks. Or at least warn us.

Anonymous said...

Always amazes me to read the bile directed toward the people who give up their free time to pit this blog together. Is it really so offensive to read about a big red tent in a park?

Brockley Nick said...

@Hillyfielder - anyone unhappy with the content of Brockley Central can contact our customer services team, who'll provide you with a refund on the cover price.

As for the warning - were the first three words of the headline not enough?

Monkeyboy said...

But there is no price? It's free?....... Oh! I see what you've done now! Clever......

Westsider said...

I can only assume Hillyfielder's post was a joke.

Zoe said...

Thanks for posting Nick. (And nice ripostes to Grumps 1 and 2).

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