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The Heatherwick Studio

There is a great exhibition on at the V&A of the work of the Heatherwick Studio. Founded by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994, it is a design, sculpture and architecture studio that has produced some wonderful things – most recently and notably the 2012 Olympic cauldron with its 204 copper petals.

The ingenuity of some of the designs needs to be seen to be believed: a bridge that rolls up, a piece of furniture made of one folding piece of wood and bowls and tables that morph from circular to oval. Others are beautiful in concept and ingenious in execution. The Welcome Trust commissioned a sculpture for their building on Euston Road that could fit through their door. They got more than they ordered in the ‘Bleigiessen’ that is 30 metres tall, involving a million metres of wire and 15 tons of glass beads – but which could have fitted through their letterbox as it was constructed on site. A Bleigiessen was a New Year game played in central Europe where lead is poured into water making extraordinary shapes from which your fortune can be told.

They have worked their magic on the Routemaster bus with a curved design with three doors (including the famous open step) and two staircases. The carpets and the seat covers are designed to mimic the shape of the seated passenger. They produced a sightseeing boat for the Loire that rejects that classic linear fore and aft shape in favour of a crossed diagonal to give different viewing lines from the river. And all this is before their architecture. It includes mosques, hotels and, intriguingly, a modern design for the ‘Towers of Silence’ in Bombay. These are the towers into which the Parsis cast their dead to be eaten by vultures. A declining vulture population has been dealt with by making the complex of towers an aviary as well....

Boat on the Loire










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