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Jean Nouvel’s Serpentine Pavilion Set to Open This Weekend, Receives Generally High Praise

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As we told you back in March, Jean Nouvel is the latest starchitect to land London’s Serpentine Pavilion. Now, after four months’ work constructing it, his temporary building is scheduled to be open to the public this weekend and thus far has been receiving mostly positive reviews from critics. The open-air building is surrounded on top and on various sides by a thick-yet-translucent material that can range from solid red to near a blood red, depending on the kind of light that’s hitting it (Dezeen has a great collection of the Pavilion’s official photos). The insides feature more red, with the floors, furniture and various fabrics mirroring the color of the walls and ceiling. Placed right in the center of all the greenery in Kensington Gardens, it sticks out like no other Pavilion before it (at certain angles, it also sort of looks a little like a Habitrail for people). The Evening Standard calls it “a very sociable, relaxed, pleasant place” and while the Guardian‘s Will Gompertz is a bit taken aback by all the redness messing up his vision, saying that being inside is “like being stuck in a deep wound,” he’s generally positive about the whole thing. The Telegraph‘s Ellis Woodman is the only critic we’ve read so far who has directly negative things to say. Woodman argues that Nouvel’s Pavilion is “a one-idea building” and that “it looks, to be blunt, like a back-of-an envelope sketch developed by an office junior” (we think that one might also be able to argue that Nouvel swiped the whole idea from James Turrell‘s work with color). The critic sees the Pavillion as the work of a formerly great architect’s continued slump and the Pavilion’s organizers stuck in their own rut of continuing to hire the biggest names in the business. We’ll leave it up to those of you who get to see the Pavilion in person to decide. So drop us a line if you swing by and let us know your thoughts. We’d love to hear them.

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