Reimagining Mayfair

I have spent much of today thinking about, and chairing a set of presentations about, a project organised by the RA’s architecture programme and Architects’ Journal called Reimagining Mayfair.   The idea of the project was to invite architectural practices to imagine how those parts of Mayfair which surround the RA could be reanimated and reinvigorated through an inventive use of art, new streetscape and architecture.   One project by EPR with Kate Malone uses flags, umbrellas and hot-air balloons to draw attention to the area.   Andrew Phillips has reimagined it as a Roman ruin.   DK-CM used Pablo Bronstein to create the idea of a May Fair, animated by ephemeral pavilions.   And Weston Williamson invited Yinka Shonibare to turn Burlington Gardens into a souk by the use of a batik awning.   I hope the projects will encourage Westminster City Council to think creatively as to how the grid of streets round Burlington Gardens could be turned into a cultural neighbourhood like Chelsea in New York, by a) encouraging the art galleries to open on Saturday b) reducing the perennial traffic jam, and c) improving the quality of street surfaces and pavements.

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