A former gunpowder store during the Napoleonic wars, The Magazine in London’s Kensington Gardens was restored as a building for public use last year. Unveiled in the historic spot is the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, the second space of vaunted arts organization, The Serpentine Gallery, seven minutes away by foot.
Much like the building’s first incarnation 208 years ago, The Magazine’s redesign by Zaha Hadid Architects is nothing short of explosive. Part of the new public art gallery is a namesake restaurant boasting a “tailored, glass-fibre woven textile membrane” for a roof, itself a spectral work of art. “Our aim is to create an intense aesthetic experience, an atmosphere that seems to oscillate between being an extension of the delightful beauty of the surrounding nature and of being an alluring invitation into the enigma of contemporary art,” says Hadid of the revivified space, which is the first permanent tensile structure built by the architect. Helmed by Chef “Ollysan” Lange, the restaurant with its mix of traditional Japanese flavors and new techniques reflects the building’s “synthesis of old and new,” Hadid’s design complementing “the calm and solid classical building with a light, transparent, dynamic and distinctly contemporary space of the 21st century.”