(c) Michael Webb

The husband-wife team of José Selgas and Lucía Cano have brought their colorful, lightweight architecture from Madrid to LA. The temporary pavilion they designed for a London park in 2015 has been re-installed at the La Brea Tarpits in Hancock Park through November 24. Its re-incarnation is being sponsored by Second Home, a shared workplace for start-ups that also had its birth in London and will open its first US complex in East Hollywood in September. Selgascano have designed all but one of the Second Homes in London and Lisbon, infusing them with a passion for work and play. Given the shortage of work in Spain, they may join the long line of emigrés who found a second home of their own in LA.

(c) Michael Webb

Every year, the Serpentine Art Gallery commissions a temporary pavilion from an architect who has not built in England before to serve as a gathering place for afternoon tea, lectures and discussions. They occupy an idyllic site in London’s Kensington Gardens, playing off the lush greenery and the neo-Georgian gallery. Junya Ishigami, a young Japanese architect, did this year’s pavilion: an arched triangle of slate shards supported on slender steel poles. Selgascano created something between a translucent tent and an enchanted cave, fabricated from vividly colored and iridescent synthetics to exclude wind and rain, and anchored by tapes to a metal frame. It glitters in the light and glows from within like a Tiffany lamp after dark. On fine days it casts colored shadows on the white floor like the stained glass in a medieval cathedral. It’s a beguiling work of art and a surreal apparition amidst the tar pits and Bruce Goff’s fanciful Japanese Pavilion.

As in London, the pavilion will host a diverse series of talks and screenings—all free and open to the public—daily from 10-7 and til 9 pm on Fridays. My guess is that it will prompt LACMA and/or the Natural History Museum to commission their own annual pavilion from an architect who has yet to build in California. What a treat that would be!

(c) Michael Webb
Michael Webb

Author: Michael Webb

Michael Webb Hon. AIA/LA has authored more than twenty books on architecture and design, most recently Moving Around: A Lifetime of Wandering, Architects’ Houses, and Building Community: New Apartment Architecture, while contributing essays to many more. He is also a regular contributor to leading journals in the United States and Europe. Growing up in London, he was an editor at The Times and Country Life, before moving to the US, where he directed film programs for the AFI and curated a Smithsonian exhibition on Hollywood.

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