The Royal Academy of Arts had what they called a “forgotten zone” between its Burlington Gardens building and the street. To attract more people to this space, the Academy co-commissioned a public art project with the Turkishceramics company.
The winner of that project, up-and-coming architecture firm SO? from Istanbul, utilized lightweight ceramic tiles to create a three-dimensional space in which visitors could sit and converse. Unexpected Hill (July 3 – Sept. 20, 2015) takes notes from geometric patterns present in Islamic motifs, but uses these to build a structure instead of a flat decoration.
From the designers:
“Unexpected Hill is an urban landscape made of ceramics. As well as for the space, a transformation for the use of material is the challenging part of this landscape since ceramics here are used to create a space, rather than being a decoration element. Using 1X3 m tiles from Turkishceramics portfolio, we propose a three dimensional pattern made of triangles. While geometry has been a common tool to design ceramic patterns throughout history, patterns generally appear to be 2 dimensional. As an example of using geometry to convert a two dimensional object into a 3 dimensional space, the structural principles of muqarnas help us create the top point of the hill where people can see the sky through a ceramic surface. While translucent ceramics will illuminate the hill during the night, growing plants inside the pots will cover the ceramic surface, creating a secondary texture as well as a temporary habitat in the installation.
“Rather than London’s existing recreational areas which are determined by pre-defined borders, Unexpected Hill will be a public spot rising abruptly on the pavement, just like many in-between public areas in Istanbul that emerge ordinarily thanks to the potential of everyday life.
“In an age where installations are instantly consumed by their images, Unexpected Hill aims to be an experience in daily life to be shared, as well as a photo. While the installation itself contributes a gathering point, to sit and relax on the street, some additional services shall be provided such as wifi, mobile charging units, music etc. Weekly programs oriented by RA will keep the place lively even in the quite weekend days. Unlike the buzzing Piccadilly and Burlington Arcade where people pass quickly, Unexpected Hill offers a place to stop in Mayfair, for both day and night.”
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