A new exhibition featuring all 28 of Heatherwick Studio's major projects to date is now on view in Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum through June 4th. Organized by Mami Kataoka, Thomas Heatherwick Studio: Building Soulfulness is the first major exhibition of Heatherwick’s work in Japan and is divided into six sections that present viewers with an in-depth look at the trial and error process behind his prodigious almost 30-year output.
A Linkedin post by the studio expressed that “The show explores the idea of scaling up the soulfulness frequently associated with small objects and the central role of craftsmanship in the studio’s design approach.” Each section is based on the myriad approaches to design that characterize a Heatherwick project, with Kataoka’s desire to “showcase the essential philosophy and spirit” that has led them rapidly into the upper echelons of international architectural attainment.
Buildings such as the Bombay Sapphire Distillery and the 2017 Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa are featured alongside Heatherwick’s design for the 2012 Olympic Cauldron and the recently-completed Little Island as examples that evince this philosophy.
Heatherwick’s furniture design also plays prominently, as pieces like the Friction Table and Spun chairs are carefully placed in the galleries as part of the final Playing and Using section. Finally, its location in the Tokyo City View observation deck affords visitors with an urban frame of reference which works in combination with the set designed by the studio to create an enhanced experience meant to provoke and center their emotions.
Heatherwick himself says it’s “thrilling to be able to showcase such a vast collection of our work in Japan, where respect for design thinking and craftsmanship is unrivalled. I hope visitors will leave the show feeling like their emotions have not just been respected but were an essential part of our thinking and fascination.”
A full-scale model of Heatherwick’s redesign of the London double-decker bus is also on view in the observatory. The exhibition will be supported by talks and workshops on topics such as “Making Soulfulness” and “Design through Making.” Heatherwick-designed stationery and a commemorative drawing scale are for sale in supplement to the exhibition. A children's workshop hosted by designers Hannah Parker and Adam Brown will also accompany the opening.
Information about visiting the exhibition can be found here.
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