Show explores range, imagination of Heatherwick design

By Associated Press In New York ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-07-04 08:37:38

Show explores range, imagination of Heatherwick design

British designer Thomas Heatherwick is the focus of a midcareer survey at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.[Evan Chavez/Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum]

The imaginative and wide-ranging work of Britain's Heatherwick Studio may still be little-known in the United States, but a traveling exhibition aims to change that.

Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio is now on at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York through Jan 3. The major midcareer survey was organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, and has also already been on view at Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

It explores designer Thomas Heatherwick's joyful takes on everything from furniture to architecture, holiday cards to arty air vents. His range of interests led his mentor, designer Terence Conran, to call him "the Leonardo da Vinci of our times."

Heatherwick is more prominent in London, where his projects have included the mechanical cauldron used in the 2012 Olympics; it consisted of dozens of small petal-shaped torches - one for each nation - that dramatically rose and joined together forming a single flame.

In the US, his only major completed work is the interior remodel of the Longchamp store in Manhattan, which features an unusual, ribbon-like staircase and a clear, slumped, glass handrail.

But more is on the way. Heatherwick is behind the dramatic design for Pier55 in Manhattan, featuring an undulating park landscape, outdoor theater and performance spaces, all built on enormous concrete piles. It's slated for completion in 2018. And the studio is designing a new Google campus, in collaboration with BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), in Mountain View, California.

"He's poised to break through in North America," says Brooke Hodge, deputy director of the Cooper Hewitt, who curated the show here.

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