Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio

September 13, 2014 - January 4, 2015
British designer Thomas Heatherwick has been hailed as a genius, lauded by The New Yorker architecture critic Paul Goldberger for the uniquely inventive nature of his work, and praised by esteemed designer Sir Terence Conran as the “Leonardo da Vinci of our times.”

This exhibition, the first North American museum presentation of the work of Heatherwick and his studio, examines the astonishing range of Heatherwick Studio’s practice by focusing on the design concepts behind early projects such as the handbag designed for Longchamp and the rotation-molded “Spun” chairs, as well as current large architectural projects in the U.K., South Africa, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, and China. Included will be such projects as the U.K. Pavilion — known as the Seed Cathedral — at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; a distillery and visitor center for Bombay Sapphire Gin in Hampshire, England; a teaching building at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore; and a mixed use complex in Shanghai.

The studio’s design of the New Bus for London recently took to the streets of the British capital, and the ceremonial lighting of its cauldron designed for the London 2012 Olympic Games was broadcast worldwide, bringing the studio to the attention of a much wider public.

Heatherwick Studio is recognized for its highly inventive approach to design, often combining novel engineering with new materials and innovative technology to create unusual, often sculptural, building forms. The project that first garnered Heatherwick international recognition was the Rolling Bridge near London’s Paddington Station. Asked to design a bridge to span a small channel through which boats pass, Heatherwick realized that most drawbridges are unattractive when raised.  Wanting the bridge to be as beautiful when spanning the channel as when raised for water traffic, he designed a unique mechanized structure that rolls up into a circular snail-like form.

Organized by guest curator Brooke Hodge for the Nasher Sculpture Center, the exhibition will include prototypes, large-scale models, objects, photographs, and film and video footage for a selection of projects.

A special section of the exhibition, presented in the Nasher’s Lower Level Gallery, will focus on the creative process that underlies all of the studio’s extraordinary designs. The exhibition will travel to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York after its presentation in Dallas.

Thomas Heatherwick speaks about The Nasher Sculpture Center and the philosophy behind his Studio and design.

Gonzalo Bueno, designer and partner of Ten Plus Three architecture and interior design talks about his insight on Provocations exhibition.

Arts and entertainment photographer, Steve Wrubel, shares his impressions of Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio

Design Within Reach's Studio Proprietor, David Goltl, shares his impressions. 

Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio is generously sponsored by the following foundations, corporations and individuals: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, The Beck Group, Betty and Gerard Regard, Michael Corman and Kevin Fink, Charlene and Tom Marsh, Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Rose III, Catherine and William Rose, Cindy and Armond Schwartz, and the Goss Michael Foundation. Additional in-kind support has been provided by Herman Miller.