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Igniting An East-West Globalizing Dialogue

The Da Vinci-Heatherwick Paradigm: Creativity is the Key

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When I was growing up, I was exposed to…invention on a small scale.  And I was there looking at the larger scale of buildings and finding that the buildings…felt soulless and cold.  And there on the smaller scale, the scale of an earring or a ceramic pot or a musical instrument, was a materiality and a soulfulness.  And this influenced me.”  –Thomas Heatherwick, TED2011

Extolled as “the Leonardo da Vinci of our times” by renowned designer Terence Conran, Thomas Heatherwick is a rather extraordinary individual worthy of Conran’s apt praise.  Looking through his studio’s body of work, one can easily discern a thread of consistency: Heatherwick is a brilliant genius of genuinely novel creativity rivaled only by the Great Masters of the Renaissance.  And this is no exaggeration.

In every sense and measure, his projects are the best representations of realized Infinite Creative Potentiality to-date with a uniquely compelling and palpable soulfulness:

Extrusions – listed under the category of ‘small projects’, Extrusions exemplify Heatherwick’s use of the discarded by accentuating mutation and bestowing it with everyday functionality.  Formed by a single, continuous component of aluminum into seating for airports, Extrusions seamlessly combine form with function.

Piggyback and Plank – also listed under the category of ‘small projects’, the Piggyback table(s) and the Plank table-chair are stunning examples of functionality with secret (dual) forms.  Indeed, the Piggyback is a set of seamlessly nestled tables (one on top of the other) that can be placed side-by-side, end-to-end, or used separately as two distinct tables.  Similarly, the Plank can be folded up into a table or a chair when it is not lying flat on the floor or propped up against a wall.  For both pieces, complexity of craftsmanship combine with simplicity of design in beautiful symmetry.

Rolling Bridge – listed under the category of ‘medium projects’, the Rolling Bridge in London is unique in its extraordinary and novel movement.  As Heatherwick states at TED2011, “…we liked the idea that the two farthest bits of it would end up kissing each other.”  Indeed, end-point unites with start-point each time the bridge curls back to open for boats.

UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 – listed under the category of ‘large projects’, the UK Pavilion focuses on the power of “simplicity and clarity” through a dialogue between cities and nature, plants and human health, economic success and social change, interior and exterior, form and texture, and form and content.  Heatherwick designed the building façade to manifest its content, and the texture of the façade to take on the building’s form.  As a “cathedral to seeds”, the pavilion itself offers tangible symbols of “potential and promise”.  And in the landscape alone, form becomes the message from one nation (UK) to another (China): “The pavilion is sitting on a landscape that is crumpled and folded like a sheet of paper, which suggests that the pavilion is a gift from the UK to China, still partly enclosed in wrapping paper.”  In its entirety, the Pavilion represents the UK’s stunning creativity as a “pioneer of the modern public park.”

The SWF Answered:

Infinite Potentiality Theory announces the dawn of the Transcendent Era.  With the help of e-technologies, the individual has overcome erstwhile limitations of time, space, and geography.  However, it is not technology alone but rather creativity that is our transcendence.  Heatherwick is one of the best representations of that caliber of creativity defying limitations, overcoming obstacles, inspiring greatness, galvanizing ingenuity, and catalyzing meaningfully positive progress forward.

At every turn, Heatherwick is a trailblazer and the world is magnificently elevated by his example.


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