Thomas Heatherwick Design

Let passion lead you.


Thomas Heatherwick (2012)

I came away from the Thomas Heatherwick exhibition at the V and A wondering how I could realign my life to follow my passions as whole heatedly as this designer. He seems to explore the world marvelling at the wonder of creation and paying homage with wondrous inventions. I have a sense of a man distilled to his core passions, in sharp focus at the centre of his design studio, surrounded by a community that share his vision.

The Heatherwick Studio, set up in 1994 creates work which spans the globe:

Grand scale design such as the landscape project in Abu Dhabi..

Old Airport (2012)

A cracked surface reveals the landscape below

To smaller projects such as the newspaper kiosk in Paddington…

Paper House London (2009)

The internal shelves match the ridges outside.

The designs are extraordinarily imaginative and yet practical.  Each, a feat of human ingenuity, they inspire wonder.

Heatherwick’s most famous piece to date is the Olympic Cauldron 2012..

Olympic Cauldron (2012)

Each copper petal representing one of the 204 competing countries, joins together to form the flame.

A sublime expression of the human potential for unity, which at its best, the games represent.

Curiosity and exploration drive the design process at the Heatherwick Studio. Projects are inspired by interest in a particular material or engineering process. Often the natural properties of a material define the design and as a result pieces often have an organic quality…

Longchamp Store (2006)

Like this drippy staircase.

A sense of Heatherwick’s power as a visionary resonates throughout the exhibition, but there are other qualities also:

  • Artistic Ingenuity                                                         Rolling Bridge (2004)

It rolls all the way to one side, without splitting, to let boats pass.

(Paddington Basin Development)

  • Playfulness

Spinny chairs (2012)

When you sit down and roll back, it feels like you tip beyond the point at which a normal chair would topple.

  • Magic


 B of the bang (2005)

Designed with an incline of 30 degrees, but no visible plinth and no top or bottom. It is as if it is hanging miraculously in space.


I left this exhibition in awe, wondering if this work might play a part in inspiring the human race to re-examine their relationship to their environment. Perhaps engaging in more imaginative, conscious, and responsible ways.

The exhibition closes 30th September, 2012.

You can watch a talk on TED by Thomas Heatherwick, about his designs, here.

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