Inside the unusual wedding cake-inspired pavilion as it is finally completed after five years

The incredible Wedding Cake at Waddeson Manor
The incredible Wedding Cake at Waddeson Manor (Image credit: Waddeson)

These incredible pictures show a 12-metre-high sculptural pavilion built in the form of a three-tiered wedding cake and clad entirely in ceramic tiles that recently opened on an estate in the Buckinghamshire countryside.

The five-year Wedding Cake project at Waddeson Manor was the brainchild of celebrated Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos and combines a pavilion – a decorative building used as a shelter in a park or large garden – and the elaborate design of a wedding cake.

If this candy confection style isn’t for you but you still want design inspiration, check out our guide on house styles.

Cake design with buttercream stairs and 'icing' tiles

The structure is situated among the trees at Waddesdon and is intended to be an immersive sculpture which combines pâtisserie and architecture.

It is glazed in pale pinks, greens and blues, sculptural ornament, a site-specific lighting scheme and is complete with the sounds of trickling water.

Wedding Cake is Vasconcelos’ most ambitious commission to date, described by the artist as “a temple to love” that celebrates festivity and marriage.

It draws on the long and varied history of the wedding cake, which is full of symbolism and tradition.

Vasconcelos said: “I want people to have three different approaches to it: looking from the outside, enjoying the surroundings from the different levels or balconies and rising to the top, finally completing the artwork with their presence. Above all, I always thought of it as a temple to love.”

The intricate ceramics inside the pavilion

The intricate ceramics inside the pavilion (Image credit: Waddeson)

Inspired by the Baroque buildings in Lisbon

The Wedding Cake draws on the exuberant Baroque buildings and highly decorative ceramic traditions of Lisbon - where Vasconcelos lives and works.

She says she is deeply influenced by the artistic traditions of her home country, and the way in which she combines her materials reflects international influences on Portuguese culture over centuries - born from a history of exploring and seafaring, from Chinese and Japanese ceramics to Brazilian carnival, incorporating colour and light.

Her work is praised as playful, manipulating scale to dramatic effect and using familiar daily objects in surprising ways.

The house is covered in intricate finials – a distinctive section or ornament at the apex of a roof or other structure – and ornaments such as ceramic mermaids and dolphin statues with water trickling from their mouths, golden walls and pink stalactite-style protrusions from the ceiling.

Ornaments such as ceramic mermaids and dolphin statues adorn the walls

Ornaments such as ceramic mermaids and dolphin statues adorn the walls  (Image credit: Waddeson)

Human guests become ‘cake toppers’ when they visit

The venue says guests can become ‘human cake toppers’ when they ascend the structure via deep yellow spiral staircases, where they can enjoy views of the Waddesdon grounds.

Other attractions at Waddesdon include the ornamental Dairy and gilded Rococo-style Aviary.

Guided tours lasting 45 minutes are running on Thursdays and some Sundays until October 26. For more information visit waddesdon.org.uk/whats-on/wedding-cake-tours.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.