A summer wheeze

Anyone strolling through London’s Kensington Gardens this week who sees a curious shed on the horizon, take note: it’s not Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen’s Serpentine Pavilion making an early landing, but the Royal College of Art’s sneaky attempt to get in first with a summer degree show extravaganza. Increasingly, colleges are making a splash with a big event outside their perimeters, yet few can boast their own temporary structure in a Royal Park. Work by graduating design students has been curated by Claire Catterall, and the pavilion itself has been conceived by architect Gerrard O’Connell. It’s a nod to Prince Albert’s Great Exhibition of 1851, to which the RCA’s foundation in 1857 can be traced back. Fittingly then, the pavilion doorway frames a neat view of the heavingly hideous memorial to the visionary prince, to which students probably owe some hare-brained inspiration for overdue crits. Obviously, we can’t blame the college for space constraints, but it’s amusing that the fine art students have been left to languish in the RCA’s indoor galleries, while design gets to play out in the park. So, if you can’t face treading the weary corridors of your alma mater to discover the latest in emerging talent, this year the grass looks truly greener.

The Great Exhibition 2007 runs from 15-28 June, at the Royal College of Art and opposite in Kensington Gardens, London SW7

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