Summer’s here…Oh happy days – The Serpentine Pavilion, Bolshoi Ballet and Sunday lunch at the Connaught

Well, there are many indications that Summer has finally arrived – and it’s not just the weather.


Aloha in Notting Hill Gate. Who was’Levi’ and what was his Dream?

There have been some scorchers but also grey skies and downpours. Well, it’s England. No, you know it’s summer because, like swallows, the well-heeled have already flown away and the normally packed streets of West London are quiet and best of all – you can park. You can (almost) pity parking wardens desperately pounding the pavements seeing their commissions drop with fewer tickets to give out (Boo Hoo most certainly NOT).


Animal sculptures in the sand….in Notting Hill!

One of the best things to see is this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in Kensington Gardens designed by the Danish architect BJARKE INGELS’ firm BIG.

An elegant curving structure that is both a curvaceous ‘unzipped fibreglass wall’ and a soaring spire.


A series of box-like fibreglass frames stacked together.


Danish architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG design for this year’s pavilion was imagined as a solid wall that has been ‘unzipped’ to create a three-dimensional space.

Made from a series of box-like fibreglass frames stacked on top of each other based on a common brick wall split to create a curved opening to the pavilion with jagged edges. Ingels wanted his design to embody multiple aspects often perceived as opposites. Both transparent and opaque, solid box and blob, free-form and rigorous. The void in the centre of the tall white structure houses a cafe and events space during the day and a venue for the gallery’s Park Nights programme in the evenings.

Best of all – it  actually works.


A structure that embodies multiple aspects that are often perceived as opposites. Free- form yet rigorous.


British Architect Asif Khan

For the first time, four summerhouses were designed to accompany the main building by Berlin studio Barkow Leibinger, Paris-based Yona Friedman, Nigerian Kunle Adeyemi and British architect Asif Khan.


Kunle Adeyemi

This year also says a sad farewell to gallery director, Dame Julia Peyton Jones.

Together with Hans Ulricht Obrist, they really created and re-invented The Serpentine in an innovative and forward thinking manner, both in terms of the diversity of their programmes, but also making it the U.K.’s most glamorous art gallery.


Yona Friedman – modular wire frame structure

Princess Diana was an enthusiastic patron and she and Lord Peter Palumbo were able to attract the rich and famous, great and good to support the gallery and attend the annual Serpentine Party. A must go to occasion whether you were interested in art or just interested in seeing and being seen (mainly the latter).



The Bolshoi always visit the Royal Opera House at the end of July (when The Royal Ballet goes to Japan – a sort of ballet exchange programme).

This is certainly the finest classical ballet company and everything is perfect.


The programme is not adventurous – Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Le Corsair etc, but who cares?

TheEye loves it all and watching their magnificent Swan Lake you would have to be hard-hearted Hannah not to fall under the spell of Ekaterina Krysanova (Odette/Odile) and her partner as Prince Siegfried, Semyon Chudin.

This really is classical ballet at its finest and Tchaikovsky’s sublime music makes you forget all the nasties going on in the world and feel you have died and gone to heaven.


Swan Lake – classical ballet at its finest.


The Bolshoi’s fabulous corps de ballet taking their curtain call

It’s the corps de ballet that is most outstanding, particularly as the ‘swans’ in Swan Lake.

Uniformly tall and long limbed, their precision and footwork is faultless and breathtaking.


Russian prima ballerina, Ekaterina Krysanova and partner Semyon Chudrin, taking a bow and standing ovation.




So delicious you can’t imagine!

LE POULET DU DIMANCHE is the innovation of chef Hélène Darroze served in her restaurant at the Connaught Hotel on occasional Sundays (lunch and dinner) and Saturday lunch.

Everything about this feast is unusual, from the relatively modest price to the fact that you need to reserve many weeks in advance as it is a menu composed of chicken products from the bullion to the incredibly light deserts – îles flottantes, creme brulee and warm, freshly made, madeleines.


The golden chicken laying golden eggs

They are fully booked until September for the ‘special’ menu and haven’t announced if it will continue in the Winter and re-start again next spring.

A culinary experience. And a big, big treat.


The beach I dream about and love

TheEye is off on her Summer Holiday …yippee… but before her brain shuts down completely she is contemplating the news of yet another ‘private museum’ and whether they are acts of philanthropy or motivated by personal ulterior motives. It has been reported that New York financier J. Tomlinson Hill and his wife Janine are opening a 6.400 square foot gallery in a new Peter Marino development in Chelsea, NY.

Tomlinson Hill, vice chairman of The Blackstone Group, says ‘we have so much art currently in storage (including four Francis Bacons, 10 Warhols, Twombleys, five Rubens, Renaissance and Baroque bronzes  – and on – and on – yawn yawn….Call TheEye old-fashioned, but is this true collecting or just mass accumulation on a big scale? Is it a true act of philanthropy (educational arts programmes are planned and more accessibility) or a major tax exemption to shelter capital gains tax? It reminds TheEye of sitting next to a New York billionaire at a dinner many years ago, possibly one of the world’s most boring men, who told me he had four homes ‘all stuffed with art’ but, when I asked who the artists were in his collection, replied ‘Oh, all the names’. Enough said!

Does it matter?  Should we care..?

Enjoy your summer holiday and watch this space in September for more news, views and plenty of opinion.


Lucky dogs

TheEye x


Happy happy hols!


  1. Another fabulously interesting Eye. Not too sure about the white boxes! Maybe Sussex is taking over my mind!
    Have a wonderful holiday.

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