Rohan Silva, the prime minister’s former top advisor on technology, is buying the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion and plans to take it to LA to turn it into an arts venue.
Second Home, the trendy east London co-working office startup Silva helped found after leaving government, is paying in the “big six figures” for the huge piece of public art that was unveiled this week and opens to the public today.
The Serpentine Pavilion is an annual piece of public art designed by a leading architect. It is placed in Hyde Park and commissioned by London’s Serpentine Gallery.
Silva told Business Insider: “We want to show that small companies can support the arts. It shouldn’t just be the BPs or the Goldmans. Second Home has agreed to buy this year’s Serpentine Pavilion — that’s pretty good for a company that’s just 8 months old.”
Silva was one of the driving forces behind the government’s Tech City initiative, advising David Cameron directly on technology policy until he left government in 2013. He co-founded Second Home, just off Brick Lane, last year with backing from the likes of Big Brother creator and Arts Council England chair Sir Peter Bazalgette and former Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill.
This year’s Serpentine Pavilion, the 15th, was designed by SelgasCano, the same Spanish architecture firm that designed Second Home.
Julia Peyton-Jones, co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, says in an email to Business Insider: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Second Home are purchasing this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Given just how special SelgasCano’s Pavilion is, it’s great to know that it is going to be in safe hands!”
The pavilion is open to the public until mid-October and Second Home then plans to pack it up and take it to LA to use as a arts venue next summer.
Silva says: “Next year we’re going to take it to LA and we’re working with the city who are showing us various parks. We’re going to be running the most amazing programme of talks, music and arts.
“We’re working with Bettina Korek who’s a leading light in the LA art scene. She’s going to be helping us put on the events.”
Second Home currently puts on a programme of free talks, concerts and events at its office, paid for through sponsorship. Silva says the events in LA will follow a similar format and be free to the public.
He says: “We see it as a civic commission. We really hope this will make cities more livable and creative. The idea over the years is to take it to over cities as well. Failing that I’ll just live in it.”
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