Sunday, 26 August 2012

Go see: Heatherwick exhibition

I went to the Heatherwick exhibition as the Victoria and Albert museum last week, and it was amazing! I often go to the V&A anyway, and the quality of their regular exhibitions is great, often as good as their paid-for exhibitions.

The Heatherwick Exhibition has been running since May, and it's on until the 30th September. The exhibition is the first ever major on the work of Thomas Heatherwick, a 'creative practitioner'. He established his studio in 1994, and since then has worked on a whole range of projects, from bridges, parks, hotels to the Olympic cauldron this year. The projects can seem quite disparate, but to me, the one common theme was that they all focused on designing something beautiful, functional and innovative.

The Olympic cauldron, photo from the Heatherwick Studio

The exhibition, as well as having lots of models and photos, also explains the process they go through to design their projects, which can be as simple as experimenting with zips and foil, or involve complex miniature models and clay. Sometimes, an idea will be developed but 'saved' until they find the right client to bring it to reality or until they find somewhere that has machines large enough to manufacture the item.

One of the projects that really stood out to me was the 'Bleigiessen' a huge sculpture at the Wellcome Trust. The team designed a 30m high sculpture out of separate parts that were all small enough to fit through a letter box! It took a team four months working round the clock to assemble the end sculpture, which is made from 142,000 glass spheres and nearly a million metres of wire. The spheres were made in a spectacle lens factory in Poland.

The Bleigiessen

The Wellcome Trust runs tours of the Bleigiessen at 2pm on the last Friday of every months, for more information see here:

Some other highlights of the V&A exhibition included the rolling bridge, which can be seen at the Grand Union canal in Paddington basin. The pedestrian bridge crucially had to allow access for the boats moored in the inlet. Rather than creating a bridge that split in the middle, the rolling mechanism was created.

Rolling Bridge, photo from the Heatherwick Studio
Another favourite was the Sheung Wan Hotel in Hong Kong. The outside of the building was inspired by the crumbly texture of polystyrene.

Sheung Wan Hotel, photo from the Heatherwick Studio

Tickets are only £7 for adults, and there are concession prices as well. Definitely worth a visit.

For more information on the exhibition, see here:
For more information on the Heatherwick studio, see here:

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