Designing the Extraordinary
As part of their season celebrating British design, the V&A showcases the work of one of the stars of contemporary British design, Thomas Heatherwick (until 30 September)
Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary showcases the work of this highly prolific studio set up by Heatherwick in 1994 shortly after he graduated from the RCA. Since its early days it has grown in size and ambition and now boasts an impressive team which includes the likes of Fred Manson and the structural engineer Ron Packman. Heatherwick and his team have built up a reputation for delivering extraordinarily innovative solutions for design briefs, turning preconceived ideas – for example how a staircase should look – on their head and constantly experimenting with new forms and materials.
Early projects were quite humble – but always striking – in scope and include a wonderful scrolling wooden sculpture for the Harvey Nichols shop window. Recent projects are seriously high profile and include the giant seedhead which was the British pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010 and the (as yet unbuilt) Teeside bio-mass power station. But it’s not all about architecture, as the Studio can turn its collective hand to most things including furniture (for example the Spun series for Magis), hand bags (the Zip Bag designed for Longchamp) and even a new take on the traditional London double-decker bus.