Prepare to be blown away by Heatherwick
Several weeks ago a copy of Thomas Heatherwick: Making thudded onto the WAN Newsdesk. I say ‘thudded’ as it is a 608-page tome and weighs about the same as a small child. The flutter of excitement around the office is testament to the level of intrigue surrounding Heatherwick’s work, especially given the number of review texts we receive.
This expanded version of Heatherwick’s original text has already received rave reviews from top publications including The Guardian and The Sunday Times. An excerpt from the latter’s critique reads: “From his high-tech lab the Olympic cauldron’s creator unleashes his magical designs…his studio is a laboratory of creative excitement.”
Exploding across the cover of this shiny new edition is perhaps Heatherwick’s most well-known project: the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo. It’s fair to say that this magnificent scheme deserved every last glowing review it received, and there were hundreds of them.
I will admit to having a certain soft spot for Thomas Heatherwick, given that a press preview of the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo at his studio near King’s Cross Station was the first assignment I was given at WAN. In a brief meeting with the designer I was taken aback by his sincere and welcoming nature, his honesty and his uninhibited passion for experimentation.
But back to the book. The glossy volume is a anthology of Heatherwick’s projects throughout the years from the relatively unknown (Guastavino’s, pg. 175) to the instantly recognisable (B of the Bang, pg. 232) and each is introduced with an open-ended question such as ‘How can a seat encourage better posture?’ and ‘How can you put one building next to another one but not see them both at the same time?’
Each of the 140 projects examined in Thomas Heatherwick: Making is described by the designer in his own words, detailing the brief given and the creative and practical processes used to meet it. From his enchanting Christmas Cards (pgs. 117, 126, 272, 294, 342, 396, 406, 482, 534, 578) to the restoration of a relationship between a shop window and the architecture of the shop itself (pg. 99), Heatherwick is eloquent in his analyses, enthralling the reader with his experimental journeys into all areas of the design industry.
The climax of the volume a chapter about the 2013 Olympic Cauldron (pg. 590); 9 pages aglow with images and passionate commentary from Heatherwick himself. The reader is taken on a fascinating voyage through Heatherwick’s creative genius, taking in the experiments and challenges that made his copper explosion one of the most highly acclaimed Olympic Cauldrons in recent history.
Thomas Heatherwick: Making is a triumph; an adventure into the mind of one of the industry’s most captivating designers well worth the hours you will lose within its pages.
Thomas Heatherwick: Making, published by Thames & Hudson. £29.95