Cooper Hewitt, NY & the Provocations of Heatherwick Studio
We have just returned home from a very busy trip to New York! One of the highlights of our entire trip was our visit to the newly renovated Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
A friend from the NY NOW trade fair recommended we go and see the Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio exhibition. Saying that it was one of the most incredible exhibitions she’d seen in a long time. We were eager to see if it lived up to the reputation… and boy did it! As Iris described,
“My jaw dropped as soon as I walked into the space… I couldn’t stop saying ‘oh my god’ at every design I saw. I was literally blown away.”
Thomas Heatherwick’s design studio is based in London, UK. His world-renowned imaginative design concepts push the boundaries of structure, form and creation. One of the studios most recognisable works is the U.K. Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. With its outer layer having the appearance of matchsticks layered and sticking out like delicate spikes from the structure.
As a design studio ourselves, it is always inspiring to see how other designers imagine concepts and push expectations of contemporary design. Heatherwick’s work pushed the boundaries further than we thought was possible.
Some of our highlights of the show included a bridge construction titled Rolling Bridge, 2002-2004 which was made with triangle shaped structures which were connected with a cable. When a boat needed to pass under the bridge the triangle structures would curl up from the centre out in a snail-like form. The process was beautiful to watch, and the design flawless and revolutionary.
Whilst all of Heatherwick’s designs were revolutionary in their construction, functionality and cutting edge technology, they also maintained an incredible aesthetic to the work. With each piece beautiful and fascinating to look at. For example, they had a project which required producing air vents for the top of a London skyscraper which stopped the engineering infrastructure ruining the aesthetic of the building and public space. With the Pasternoster Vents, they managed to produce a delicate looking sculpture, which enhanced the appearance of the building and fulfilled its engineering function.
Similarly, the incredible concept of the Olympic Cauldron they produced for the games back in 2012, they wanted to make every nation of the games feel as if they were participating in the lighting of the flames. So they produced these organic looking copper rods, which came together to a floral arrangement. Each nation placed its copper element on the rods before the lighting ceremony began, radiating the light of the games…
They also produced design concepts, which changed the everyday lives of ordinary people. Such as their redesign of the iconic London buses, which not only made it easier for drivers to turn sharp corners, utilise less fuel, seat more passengers and increase public safety, but they look futuristic and elegant in appearance.
The Provocations exhibit was a truly wonderful experience and has changed the way we imagine design here at the inSync studio.
If you are heading to New York anytime soon, you must pay a visit to the Cooper-Hewitt museum!
Where: Cooper-Hewitt, 2 East 91st Street, New York, New York 10128
Exhibit: Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio
When: June 24, 2015 – January 3, 2016