Heatherwick Studio: About the Exhibition

31 May - 30 September 2012

This exhibition was the first ever major retrospective on the work of Thomas Heatherwick, one of the most exciting creative practitioners working in the UK today. Heatherwick has been the recipient of the Prince Philip Designers Prize and the London Design Medal, and in 2004 became the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry.

At the heart of his Studio's practice is a profound commitment to elegant, integrated design solutions and the absolute dedication to materials, research, prototyping, industrial collaboration, tactility, texture - and above all, extraordinary form-making.

After completing his MA at the Royal College of Art, Heatherwick established the Studio in 1994, as a space in which to produce extraordinary projects. Rejecting conventional classifications, Heatherwick and his team explore the thresholds between standard design categories. Celebrating the pure joy of creating 3-dimensional forms, the Heatherwick studio has earned an international reputation for creating stunning and ingenious works that span a breathtaking array of disciplines: from architecture, furniture, product design and fashion, to engineering, sculpture, transport and urban planning.

The team's work to date includes a spinning chair, a rolling bridge, an expandable zip bag, a power station, an 'endless' bench, the London 2012 Olympic cauldron and a brand new bus for London.

Thomas Heatherwick and Stuart Wood discuss the work of Heatherwick Studio

View transcript of video


Audio discussions

Listen to, or download, short audio discussions of Heatherwick Studio works featured in the exhibition 'Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary'.


Olympic Cauldron (4 mins 57 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Danny Boyle (Artistic Director, London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Aberystwyth Artists’ Studios (5 mins 15 secs)

Participants: Alan Hewson (Director, Aberystwyth Arts Centre), Rory Wilson (Architect and Aberystwyth Artist Studio tenant), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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The Inspiration of Construction (4 mins 49 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Control Systems (4 mins 58 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Ron Packman (Associate, Heatherwick Studio), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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East Beach Cafe (4 mins 49 secs)

Participants: Peter Ayres (Project Architect, Heatherwick Studio), Jane Wood (owner, East Beach Café), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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B of the Bang (5 mins 39 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Sir Howard Bernstein (Chief Executive, Manchester City Council), Antony Gormley (artist), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Research and Development (5 mins 9 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Stuart Wood (Head of Innovation, Heatherwick Studio), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Autumn Intrusion (5 mins 15 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Mary Portas (former Creative Director at Harvey Nichols, Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Spun (5 mins 10 secs)

Participants: Mark Burrows (Head of Making, Heatherwick Studio), Anthony Moore (metal spinner, A.D. Moore Metal Spinning Ltd), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Haunch of Venison Gallery (4 mins 43 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Rachael Barraclough (Head of Design, Haunch of Venison), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator)


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Seed Cathedral (5 mins 13 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Sir Mark Jones (former Director of the V&A), Sir Andrew Cahn (former Senior Responsible Officer in the Foreign Office for the Shanghai Expo), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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London Bus (5 mins 20 secs)

Participants: Neil Hubbard (Project Designer, Heatherwick Studio), Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London), David Barnett (Development Engineering Manager, Wrightbus), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Royal Docks (5 mins 14 secs)

Participants: Fred Manson (Associate, Heatherwick Studio), Clive Dutton (Executive Director of Regeneration, London Borough of Newham), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Christmas Cards (5 mins 10 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Pritpal Mann (Manager, Special Handstamp Centre, Royal Mail), Sir John Sorrell (recipient of Studio Christmas cards), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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Found Objects and Test Pieces (4 mins 42 secs)

Participants: Thomas Heatherwick (Founder, Heatherwick Studio), Abraham Thomas (Exhibition Curator).


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The Wolsey Angels Appeal

We urgently need your help to raise the £5,000,000 it will cost for the V&A to acquire four Renaissance angels cast for the tomb of Cardinal Wolsey and later in the possession of Henry VIII.

Help us buy The Wolsey Angels