Design and the City is a podcast by reSITE, raising questions and proposing solutions for the city of the future. In the first episode, Thomas Heatherwick founder of Heatherwick Studios discusses the notion of Designing on a Human Scale, describes his conceptual approach and introduces his latest venture in the heart of historic Prague. Joining the interview is ArchDaily editor, Christele Harrouk.
ReSITE, the global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, caught up with Heatherwick at their 2019 event, after his keynote to discuss his projects that fit right into this year’s theme of REGENERATE. In the second part of the podcast, ArchDaily editor Christele Harrouk “dove deeper into the ethos behind Thomas’s holistic approach to space, thinking on a human scale, and what it means to innovate”.
The designer initiates the conversation by introducing himself and the studio. He continues with his take on the city of London, and where he sees its biggest challenges, to finish the first part of the interview with his understanding of what it means to “Regenerate”.
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In the second fragment, ArchDaily led the debate starting with an interrogation about the designer’s creative process and his personal understanding of architecture and urban design. For Heatherwick, there is no distinction between the two, “the same verb applies - you design. You don't architect something, you design it”. He continues his argument by stating that “these aspects of city-making are not mutually exclusive. They’re linked. Like with all of his projects, he strives to consider them from a human scale capturing the essence of what already exists”.
Moreover, when asked about humans and the essence of our times, the designer described his vision by underlining his approach to his latest project in Prague, Nové Mesto’s Savarin complex that “will use a number of heritage buildings creating connections through a major new and dynamic public space”.
We are trying to focus our effort on people, where are the people and what are the issues that matter most to them and have a dialogue with that. -- Thomas Heatherwick on his studio’s approach.
Finally, Heatherwick -known for his creative worldwide interventions, such as the Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town and the Hudson Yards Vessel in New York City- expressed that “Innovation is a funny word - its ideas. It's just we humans connect with ideas, and ideas have no scale. Why shouldn't there be ideas at the smaller and the larger scale? I think it's just trying to find the functional reasons that can drive them”.