Following the conclusion of a new radio series featuring in-depth interviews with inspirational names in global politics, business and the arts, we've picked out and compiled four of our favourites for you to listen to. Thirty minutes each, Monocle 24's collection of Big Interviews have heard from the likes of London-based designer Thomas Heatherwick, architectural critic, writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades, plus developers and hoteliers Ian Schrager and André Balazs.
As reported in the Architects' Journal, Transport for London (TfL) – the authority in charge of the Garden Bridge programme, which was approved last year – have ordered a review into the procurement process leading up to Heatherwick's selection to design a new bridge spanning the Thames. Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner for TfL, will "review of the overall process of procurement of the design contracts, the findings of which [will be published] in full." This statement follows the revelation that Heatherwick Studio’s estimated total price (which was wrongly redacted in response to a Freedom of Information request made by the AJ last February) "was far higher than its two fellow bidders in the 2013 invited concept design competition." Full information about the request is detailed here.
In an exclusive hour-long interview with British designer Thomas Heatherwick, Monocle's Andrew Tuck discusses building a business in the world of design and architecture, the process behind revamping the iconic red London bus, and the inspiration behind placing people – and plants – at the heart of the River Thames. Heatherwick leads London-based Heatherwick Studio, a multidisciplinary design practice who have recently completed a distillery in England and a learning hub in central Singapore, They are currently collaborating with BIG on the new Google Campus in San Francisco having been recently labelled as among the top ten most innovative architectural practices of 2015 by FastCompany.
Listen to the interview in full below:
Maggie's, the UK charity famed for its cancer care centers designed by world-renowned architects, has released a proposal for a new building designed by Heatherwick Studio. The new center is planned to be built on the grounds of the St James' University Hospital in Leeds, and was submitted for planning permission this morning.
The design consists of a series of stepped "planters" which aim to harness the therapeutic effect of plants for the benefit of the center's users. The building's public and private interior spaces are woven both in between these elements, and into the interior space of the planters themselves.
Thomas Heatherwick and PlanGrid co-founder Tracy Young have been ranked in Fast Company's top 100 Most Creative People in Business list for 2015. Topped by an ASU professor who is fighting ebola with tobacco, the list features some of the world's most powerful creatives, including Google VP Rajan Anandan, who's working to get everyone online, and 3D printing pioneer Jennifer Lewis of Materials Lead.
Coming in at number 24, Heatherwick is being lauded for "collapsing the walls within design," says FastCo. Working on projects of all scales, from the London Olympic cauldron to a proposed $130 million floating park in New York, Heatherwick's practice is often labeled as "multidisciplinary" - a misconception challenged by Heatherwick, who told the magazine his work falls under "one discipline: solving functional problems and trying to make a difference."
A casual observer might be forgiven for wondering how Thomas Heatherwick has developed such a reputation among architects. A scan of the works of Heatherwick Studio reveals relatively few completed buildings, and many of those that do make the list are small projects: kiosks, retail interiors, cafés. Indeed, to the average Londoner he is probably better known as the designer of the new homage to the iconic red Routemaster bus and as the creator of the wildly popular cauldron for the London 2012 Olympics - both unveiled in a year in which Heatherwick all but officially became the state-approved designer of 21st century Britain.
A look at the website of Heatherwick Studio sheds some light on this conundrum. With projects separated into “small,” “medium” and “large,” it is clear that a progression in scale is mirrored by a progression in time, with many of the smallest projects completed in the Studio’s early years, and most of those in the “large” category either recently completed or (more frequently) still on the drawing board. Their most recently completed project is also one of their largest, a “Learning Hub” for Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. How does a design studio that made its name in small projects adapt to such scale? ArchDaily spoke to Thomas Heatherwick about the Learning Hub and the increasing size of his projects to find out.
In their designs for Google's new headquarters, released last week amid much excitement, Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick have taken cues from the utopian visions of the past to create a radical solution for the sprawling tech campus in Mountain View, California. Citing the lack of identifiable architecture in the technology sector, a promotional video on Google’s own blog reveals how the company plans to embrace nature, community, and flexibility with the new scheme.
Chief among the company’s concerns was creating a building capable of adapting to future uses in addition to serving as a neighborhood-enhancing environment to welcome visitors from the surrounding community. As with any news related to Google, the design has already attracted the attention of the media - read on after the break for our rundown of the most salient reviews so far.
Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies.
"It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”
A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break.
Arup have released a new image of the proposed copper-nickel alloy cladding that will adorn Heatherwick Studio's Garden Bridge in London. According to a report by the Architects' Journal, the "concrete structure will be coated in 'cupro-nickel', from its feet on the riverbed up to the base of the balustrades on the bridge deck." The copper will be donated from Glencore, a multi-national mining company, forming "a protective skin to the carbon steel structure giving it a maintenance free 120-year life, protecting the bridge from river and environmental corrosion." More than 240 tonnes of the metal alloy, which often finds use in medical equipment and ship propellers, will be used.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has approved plans for the Thomas Heatherwick-designed Garden Bridge. The approval from the mayor is the third and final green light for the bridge, having previously been accepted by both Lambeth and Westminster councils. The project is now likely to begin construction within a year - in line with a self-imposed deadline by the Garden Bridge Trust that will allow them to complete the project before works on the proposed Thames Tideway Tunnel cause disruption on the site.
Update: Today Westminster Council approved the Garden Bridge proposals - the second of three required approvals - with councillors voting 3-1 in favour of the bridge. Though London Mayor Boris Johnson still has to officially rule on the plans, it is almost certain that he will ultimately give the go-ahead to the project as he has previously voiced his support for the idea. The following article was originally published on November 13th, after Lambeth Council granted the bridge its first approval.
Lambeth Council has awarded planning permission for the Garden Bridge, Thomas Heatherwick and Arup's planned crossing of the Thames which has been proposed and supported by actress Joanna Lumley. The approval is the first in a series that the bridge needs to become a reality, with Westminster City Council and London mayor Boris Johnson still needing to sign off on the project, according to the Architects' Journal.
Last week, Thomas Heatherwick unveiled his fairytale-like designs for what will hopefully be New York's latest and most ambitious park, Pier 55 (with apologies to the High Line, New York's last "next big thing" in the public park arena). Envisaged as an undulating artificial landscape on a cloud of mushroom-like supports, Pier 55 has the internet buzzing. In this interview with FastCo Design, Heatherwick discusses the inspirations behind his latest project, explaining how everything including New York's street grid, the ruins of Pier 54 and yes, even the city's other recent global green space phenomenon, have manifested themselves in his latest madcap creation. Read the full article here for more.
After gaining the first in a series of required planning approvals last week, Thomas Heatherwick's highly controversial Garden Bridge proposal has once again come under fire from a variety of opponents, with campaign group Thames Central Open Space (TCOS) dubbing it a "luvvies' folly," and the Guardian's architecture critic Oliver Wainwright saying that it is "not in fact a bridge – in the sense of being a public right of way across the river – but another privately managed tourist attraction, on which £60m of public money is to be lavished."
Much of this new assault is the result of the 46 conditions which came with Lambeth Council's recommendation to grant the bridge planning approval, which as BD Online uncovered, include closing the bridge between 12 and 6am, a ban on cycling, and a restriction of group sizes to 8 people or fewer, unless booked in advance.
Thomas Heatherwick is set to expand his international reputation in the coming year, thanks to two exhibitions that will tour the United States and East Asia, reports the Architects' Journal. The US exhibition, titled "Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio" will tour Dallas, LA and New York from September 2014 to October 2015. The Asia exhibit is yet to be formally announced, although it is believed it will begin in Singapore in Spring 2015. Read on after the break for more details of the exhibitions.
The Maggie's cancer charity has announced Thomas Heatherwick as the latest high-profile designer who will contribute to the Maggie's Centre program, with a site at the new Bexley Wing of St James's University Hospital in Leeds. The new centre will be the first Maggie's in Yorkshire, with Heatherwick joining the likes of Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Steven Holl in the list of Maggie's Centre designers.
More on the appointment after the break
In an interesting analysis in the Guardian, Olly Wainwright draws attention to the questionable process by which of Thomas Heatherwick's Garden Bridge proposal has gained such strong support from the British government. It is, according to Wainwright, the product of "one voguish designer, one national treasure and one icon-hungry mayor" - however he contends that compared to other more needed potential bridges over the Thames, the Garden Bridge may just be "a spectacular solution to a problem that doesn't really exist," and a terrific waste of infrastructure funds. You can read the article in full here.
The Royal Academy of Arts’ annual Summer Exhibition is the world's largest open submission exhibition providing "a unique platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their works to an international audience." From 12,000 total works of art, spanning a complete range of disciplines, 140 architectural works have been selected and hung by Royal Academician and Architect Eric Parry, after some early dialogue with former RIBA President Sir Richard MacCormac. Work featured this year includes a model by Thomas Heatherwick and prints by Louisa Hutton of Sauerbruch Hutton, alongside Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Richard Rogers and Eva Jiřičná.
The largest private project New York City has seen in over 100 years may also be the smartest. In a recent article on Engadget, Joseph Volpe explores the resilience of high-tech ideas such as clean energy and power during Sandy-style storms. With construction on the platform started, the Culture Shed awaiting approval, and Thomas Heatherwick designing a 75-Million dollar art piece and park – the private project is making incredible headway. But with the technology rapidly evolving, how do investors know the technology won't become obsolete before its even built?