PROVOCATIONS: THOMAS HEATHERWICK IN DALLAS
If you watched the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Games in London, you know something about the ingenuity of designer Thomas Heatherwick, the force behind the Olympic Cauldron that year. During the procession of teams, an athlete from each of the two-hundred-plus nations carried in a copper staff bearing a representative national motif; they were placed on the ground in the center of the stadium and at the appointed moment rose in an astonishing feat of engineering to form the gleaming, multi-petaled cauldron.
To appreciate most of Heatherwick’s accomplishments, many of which are on a fairly large scale, you would normally have to travel to Britain or Asia, but a traveling exhibition brings a major display of his work to the United States for the first time. Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio opens at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (to January 4, 2015) and will then be seen at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (February 15 to May 24, 2015) and finally at the Cooper Hewitt in New York (June 21 to October 26, 2015).
Established in 1994, Heatherwick Studio is recognized for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, design, and strategic thinking—which means its range is enormous, from the Zip Bag for Longchamp (based around a single long length of zipper that, when unzipped, doubles the size of a regular handbag into a larger day bag, and revealing an unexpected spiral of color) to designs for parks, bridges, and buildings, and various structures and objects in between—such as furniture, newsstands, and artist’s studios. According to lead curator Brooke Hodges, it was “fascinating to see the studio’s creative process firsthand. They don’t use sketches to develop an idea but make models at different scales, testing and retesting shape, scale, functionality. We have included as much as possible in the show to illuminate their process—because it gives a much deeper understanding of how things are made and how and why they work.”
For those who cannot get to the exhibition, Heatherwick’s website is fascinating. If you are in New York, his only major work in the U.S. is the marvelous interior of the Longchamp flagship store in Soho. nashersculpturecenter.org heatherwick.com