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Energy Flows at the Serpentine Summer Party

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20th Sep 2008




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Late nite dancing at London's fashionable Cuckoo Club
Can a space created around the flow of energy for the purpose of a party enhance the experience? The answer is of course, yes, as evidenced by the wild success of the latest Serpentine Summer Party in London, co-hosted by the Serpentine Gallery and Swarovski.

The Serpentine Summer Party is an annual garden party hosted by the Serpentine Gallery and situated within the green expanse of Hyde Park. Tickets are a desired rarity, and the organizing committee meticulously comb through the guest list to make sure the event contains just the right mix of artists, actors, celebrity, buyers, brokers, dealers, patrons, and local personalities to ensure an evening of the most sublime people watching... ever.

Over the years the Serpentine Summer Party has taken on a life of its own, enhancing the profile of the gallery on the international scene. The funds it raises go toward important projects - the expansion of work by in the contemporary art space, with a special emphasis on education.

In addition to spectacular people and a good cause, the gallery works with a leading artist or architect to create the Summer Pavilion, a temporary structure around which the party is held that will generally last for the summer season. This year the pavilion will not be completed until August, so a temporary installation was commissioned instead.

To that end, Zaha Hadid Architects' Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid, working with Patrik Shumacher, partner at Zaha Hadid Architects, created Lilas, a series of three parasols on a low base designed to be interwoven and connected, but without actually touching. It is up for only one week, from 11-21 July, 2007.

The piece is instantly recognizable as a work in the style of Hadid, and the flow of energy it created around the space must have led to some reaction by the crowd. Before the people turned into pumpkins at the customary stroke of midnight, the installation was filled with guests banging the night away to Nirvana and other retro hits with a level of intensity not often seen among the jetset.

In fact, it was such a party that two after-parties continued late into the night, one at Cuckoo Club and one at Raffles, site of Hub Culture's spring party. The fact that some guests ended the night at 6am rowing a boat up the Thames will go unmentioned.

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Zaha Hadid's "Lilas" installation, Serpentine Gallery '07
In her brief for the space, Hadid indicates her "interest in the rigorous interface between architecture, landscape and geology" as she integrates "natural topographies and human made systems that lead her to experiment with cutting-edge technologies." The soft flowing curves and upward motion of the space she created lent well to the evening, and combined with pieces scattered inside and outside by event co-host Swarovski, the evening stuck a tight balance between environment, glamour, futurism and hedonism.

Among the among the many names on hand were Saffron Aldridge, Ron Arad, Tamara Beckwith, Pierce Brosnan, Peter Blake, Kim Cattrall, Hussein Chalayan, Dinos Chapman, Michael Craig-Martin, Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Tracey Emin, James Franco, Jasmine Guinness, Jefferson Hack, Zaha Hadid, Geri Halliwell, Damien Hirst, Tom Hollander, Dennis Hopper, Joshua Jackson, Bianca Jagger, Jade Jagger, Tim Jefferies, Christopher Kane, Anish Kapoor, Gary Kemp, Diane Kruger, Jens Laugesen, Marc Newson, Thandie Newton, Jade Parfitt, Nick Rhodes, Richard Rogers, Liberty Ross, Jonathan Saunders, Simon and Santa Sebag Montefiore, Kevin Spacey, Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, Margo Stilley, Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, Alice Temperley, Natalia Vodianova, Amanda Wakeley, David Walliams, Mark Wallinger, Vivienne Westwood, Jane & Louise Wilson, Trinny Woodall and Jonathan Yeo.

Hub members lurking in the shadows included Jennifer Kersis, Kristin Jones, Andrew Black, Andrew Maag, Michael Loizzi, Harry Briggs, David Fischer, Fru Holstrup, Lauren & Frits Prakke, Philip & Tita Byrne, Roger Howie, Yasmine Shihata, Robert Tateossian, Ariel Thomsen, Susan Bender, and many more.