CoveBurgess Architects team up with Pentagon to create porcelain folly dedicated to social reformer Octavia Hill, for London Festival of Architecture 2018

CoveBurgess Architects and leading tile specialists Pentagon, have collaborated to design a porcelain tiled folly with Bonsai Oak tree rising from within as part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

The 1.3m2 engraved pavilion, sits in the London Borough of Southwark’s Bankside, which has been preserved by Bankside Open Trust and is part of the ‘extraordinary women’ exhibition representing female pioneers for this years’ festival.

The folly is dedicated to social reformer Octavia Hill, who believed that everyone should have access to open spaces regardless of their circumstances. It was her work which fled to the creation and preservation of public open space in London, and the foundation of the National Trust.

The structure is Octavia’s gift, representing the amount of green space created and preserved by her for each individual in Bankside. Octavia Hill believed that everyone should have access to open spaces regardless of their circumstances and this folly pays homage to her.

Tim Burgess of CoveBurgess Architects said:

“We chose to focus on Octavia Hill’s love and advocacy of green and public spaces. Her role in protecting public green spaces is still felt today, be it on a small scale through individual parks she helped preserve and create through her activism, which eventually lead to the 1956 Clean Air Act 3, and the creation of the National Trust. The aim is to evoke the idea of publicly owned space by showing the viewer what is effectively their small portion as well as highlighting the fragility of the idea by juxtaposing the contrasting context with concrete of the installation site.”

Pentagon, the architectural tile specialist who regularly collaborates closely with architects on award winning projects has helped realise this giant porcelain tile structure. Their sister company Pentagon Shape has carefully engraved the key statements into the tiles with a water jet cutting process. Creative Director, Sam Frith said:

“We were delighted to be invited to collaborate on this project with Cove Burgess. The timing couldn’t have been better as it gave us the opportunity to showcase what our new 5 Axis water jet cutter and milling machines can do. We also wanted to support the ideas and sentiments behind the event.”

The Bonsai Oak tree which stands tall within the folly has been supplied by tree specialists Raw Bonsai and represents nature and how trees in our cities were integral to Octavia Hill’s vision.

Octavia Hill’s folly will sit at Bankside in Southwark during June as part of the wider exhibition for the London Festival of Architecture.

Octavia Hill: “A few acres where the hill top enables the Londoner to rise above the smoke, to feel a refreshing air for a little time and to see the sun setting in coloured glory which abounds so in the Earth God made.”