Designing the Extraordinary

Hey Magpies! This week I want to tell you about an exciting exhibition I recently visited at the V&A in London. Designing the Extraordinary chronicles the work of Thomas Heatherwick and his design studio. Heatherwick is somewhere between architect and designer, though it feels wrong to define him as such since he’s clearly capable of all kinds of creativity. You might be familiar with the Olympic Cauldron he designed and London dwellers may have seen his redesign for the iconic London double decker bus. He’s also well known for his Rolling Bridge, which uncurls across the river as required and for the shimmering, glorious Seed Cathedral.

Heatherwick and his team are constantly developing new ways of using materials and even build bespoke machines to work with materials for use when the right commission comes along. I am, in fact, in love with this process driven, deliciously experimental, almost scientific approach to working as a creative practitioner.

Walking around the exhibition where models, diagrams, videos and more document his ideas is a whistle stop tour of the output of the Heatherwick Studio to date. The exhibition was very busy when I went and there was a sense of everything being a bit crammed in and of being carried around on a wave of people fighting (in a polite, British style of course) to see the exhibits. However, I feel this thoroughly leant itself to the nature of the work, which is super creative and seemingly bursting at the seams with possibility.

Conclusion: This exhibition is totally thrilling; don’t let the somewhat sterile, museum-type display of the work put you off. The stuff that comes out of the Heatherwick studio is inventive and full of optimism. I can’t wait to see what he does next!


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