In July 2007, Zaha Hadid came to rescue when plans for that year’s Serpentine pavilion faltered. Steel prices were on the rise and the pavilion’s realization, designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Norwegian architect Kjetil Thorsen, stalled. The Lilas Installation, designed by the late British-Iraqi architect and Patrik Schumacher, stood in its place for nine days at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Nine years on, the Lilas Installation is now on show in gardens of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England.
The installation is the showpiece of the yearly Beyond Limits sculpture exhibition put on show at Chatsworth by the auction house Sotheby’s. The Lilas Installation is currently up for sale (with no price specified). It covers 3,336 square feet and rises 18 feet high—not quite small enough for a suburban back garden. For comparison, Sou Fujimoto’s 2013 pavilion was sold for a reported $653,900.
Julia Peyton-Jones was the Serpentine director in 2007. “It was one of those little miracles,” she said, remembering the moment. “It was uncomfortable to be in the position of not having a pavilion on time that year—[but] stuff happens and it is how you deal with it that is the major issue. As a result, we had this gorgeous project that was unexpected and it was an absolute little gem… so typical in its simplicity and so relevant to her work.”
The Derwent River with Chatsworth House in the background. (Courtesy Rob Bendall via Wikipedia)
Once again, Hadid and Schumacher’s creation is open to the public. A stately home in the U.K.’s midlands, Chatsworth House is set among the countryside and has an extensive array of public and private gardens. Its history spans back to the 16th century when the original house was built in 1553. In 1568, the house even was used to hold custody of Mary Queen of Scots. Today, visitors can pay just over $20 to tour the gardens and view the Lilas Installation before it is eventually sold.
Originally, the work had been planned to be unveiled at Chatsworth before Hadid’s passing. “It is very poignant,” said Peyton-Jones. “But all the more marvelous that this masterwork should be presented to remind us what an extraordinary contribution she made.” Simon Stock, senior director at Sotheby’s and curator of the show at Chatsworth, spoke of how the 2007 work will fit into its historic setting. “They don’t clash, they complement in a way the pyramid does at the Louvre,” he said. “It is a very beguiling structure, it draws you in, it is an extraordinary thing”.
“Is it principally sculptural?” Stock questioned, attempting to describe the installation. “Is it a piece of architecture… do you see it was a building, in other words? Do you see it as something organic that has grown out of the ground? It is all of those things combined.”