Thomas Heatherwick

Original blog post at: (embodiedlivingblog)

Let passion lead you.

Thomas Heatherwick (2012)

I came away from the Thomas Heatherwick exhibition at the V and A wondering how I could realign my life to follow my passions as whole heatedly as he. Exploring the world, marveling at the wonder of creation and paying homage with wondrous inventions. I felt a longing to come into sharp focus, like this man, at the centre of his design studio, defined by his passions, with an amassed community that shares them.

The Heatherwick Studio, set up in 1994 creates work which spans the globe, prestigious pieces such as the landscape project in Abu Dhabi..

Old Airport (2012)

A cracked surface reveals the landscape bellow

To smaller projects such as the newspaper kiosk in Paddington…

Paper House London (2009)

The internal shelves match the ridges outside.

The designs are always imaginative, always practical. Challenging the boundaries of possibility, they inspire one to look at the world with wonder. Each is a feat of human ingenuity.

Heatherwick’s most famous piece to date is the wonderful Olympic Cauldron 2012..

Olympic Cauldron (2012)

Each individual petal joins together to form the flame.

I can’t imagine a more fitting contemporary artist, to design a symbol for human potential and unity.

Rather than client commissions, curiosity and exploration drive the design process at the Heatherick Studio. Projects are guided by interest in a particular material or engineering process. Often the natural properties of a material define the design and as a result, pieces can have an organic quality…

Longchamp Store (2006)

I like to think of this as the drippy staircase.

A sense of Heatherwick’s power as a visionary resonates throughout the exhibition, but also:

  • Artistry

Jiading Bridge (2010)

This bridge, which is flat, can arch, creating steps, to allow boats to pass underneath.

  • Playfulness

Spinny chairs

When you sit down and let them roll back, it feels like you will tip beyond the point at which a normal chair would fall backwards.

Rolling Bridge (2004)

It rolls all the way to one side, without splitting, to let boats pass. (Paddington Basin Development)

  • Magic

B of the bang (2005)

Designed with an incline of 30 degrees, but no visible plinth and no top or bottom. It is as if it is hanging miraculously in space. (Manchester)

Expanding furniture (2004)

Tables and bowls can be compressed from a round shape into ellipses. They look like they are made of tiny beads.

  • Sensitivity

Teesside Power Station (2009)

Heatherwick creates a form which marries with the landscape around it and transforms the power station into something beautiful to behold.

I left in awe of a man who’s mark on the world might be to inspire the human race to engage with their environment anew and felt buoyed in my own challenge to explore my passions to the full.

The exhibition closes 30th September, 2012.

You can watch a talk on TED by Thomas Heatherwick, about his designs, here.


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