Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Heatherwick Studio

You may not know who Thomas Heatherwick is but I'm sure you were stricken by his work at some point. Images of the incredible UK Pavilion Seed Cathedral at Shanghai World Expo (2010) have been published all over the place.

UK Pavilion Seed Cathedral, Shanghai Expo, China 2010 © Iwan Baan

The pavilion contained 250,000 seeds that were preserved like precious jewels in the ends of the acrylic rods. Sunlight would pass through the rods, illuminating the seeds and creating a cathedral-like atmosphere inside. 

Bleigiessen, Wellcome Trust, London, UK 2005 © Steve Speller

As Louboutin said during the presentation of his retrospective at the Design Museum, 'everything around us is designed'. Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone designed with the same passion and care as Thomas Heatherwick

Teesside Power Station, Stockton-On-Tees, Teesside, UK 2011 © Heatherwick Studio

He has the supreme capacity of transforming the ordinary into extraordinary as anyone who visits his first major solo exhibition - opening this week at the V&A - can acknowledge.

Rolling Bridge, Paddington Basin, London, UK 2004 © Steve Speller

It includes contextual photographs, maquettes, prototypes and material fragments which offer an insight into the studio's design processes. Since the start of his career, Heatherwick has worked with an extensive range of design disciplines and has shown a persistence of vision.

"Heatherwick is constantly challenging us with his ideas and pushing boundaries in art and design." Martin Roth, Director of the V&A

Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary
© V&A Images

His studio is currently working on one of my favourite designs - A Thousand Trees - defined by a landscape grid of 1000-tree topped columns. The trees surround the façade of the residential and office units merging organically nature with architecture.

I was always disturbed by the lack of green spaces in big cities, wishing architects would always incorporate nature with buildings in the form of roof gardens, but this is definitely a much more clever solution.

Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary
© V&A Images

Another really exciting ongoing project is a public park in Abu Dhabi, intended to be a celebration of the desert. Alluding to the cracked earth of a dry desert floor, the design resembles an elevated desert surface, broken apart to reveal an oasis of rich plant growth and shaded public spaces beneath.  

If you want to know more about one of the world's most innovative designers, Thomas Heatherwick: Making presents an exhaustive overview covering the studio's entire history.

Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary
Curated by Abraham Thomas
31 May - 30 September 2012

Other related blog posts:
Christian Louboutin's Retrospective
Bristish Design Explosion
Schiaparelli and Prada at MET