A ceramic hill has emerged from the pavement of the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens entrance, giving Mayfair shoppers a much-needed place to relax.

Conceived by Istanbul-based practice SO? Architecture and Ideas, and commissioned by Turkishceramics, the Unexpected Hill takes the place of bollards on a little-used stretch of streetscape.

‘We thought the area should be completely open to the public,’ said Oral Goktas, co-founder of SO? Architecture and Ideas. Adds partner Sevince Bayrak: ‘We searched the site on Google and in every picture, we saw people doing something around the bollards: sitting there, smoking a cigarette. We thought it would make a perfect public outdoor space.’

The geometric installation rises and falls like an undulating landscape and explores how two-dimensional ceramic tiles can be fashioned to create a three-dimensional structure. At night, Unexpected Hill will light up, and on Sundays, it will host activities and performances for children.

Unexpected Hill by SO Architecture and Ideas at the Royal Academy of Arts

Kate Goodwin, the Royal Academy of Arts’ head of architecture says: ‘SO? Architecture and Ideas’ installation is a playful intervention that transforms a currently underutilised space into a much needed place in Mayfair where people can sit and take time out, or explore and come together.’

SO? Architecture and Ideas beat out three other emerging practices – including OS31, bureau de change and Scott Whitby Studio – to design the installation, which responds to the idea of ‘transformation’.

The theme is in line with the Royal Academy’s upcoming redevelopment, conceived by David Chipperfield Architects, which will connect Piccadilly and Mayfair via the institution’s Burlington House and Burlington Gardens buildings.

Unexpected Hill runs until 20 September.

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