Reimagining Mayfair: Weston Williamson + Partners with Yinka Shonibare and Uncommon
The proposal is to integrate the activities and art of the Royal Academy with the activities of the surrounding area. The scheme seeks to create a synergy between this iconic cultural institution and the adjacent urban environment. Architect Weston Williamson + Partners and landscape consultant Uncommon invited Royal Academician Yinka Shonibare to work together in realising this ambition. Their project starts with an exhibition that breaks the traditional walls of the gallery, with exhibits found in the street, between the buildings, in nearby commercial galleries and in the surrounding tailors’ workshops and retail outlets.
Weston Williamson and Uncommon have devised a masterplan for the new quarter, which takes the theme of fabric - its ‘warp and weft’ - to interweave the activities of the galleries with local businesses. This idea includes pedestrianising the gallery entrance, creating a new plaza.
The central element of the exhibition, a billowing ‘African’ batik fabric canopy, will transform the public realm at the front - the new north entrance to the academy. The plaza stonework and all the people on it will be patterned by coloured shadows and night-time light projections from the overhead canopy, defining the new entrance.