Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick
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Born17th February, 1970
BuildingsLongchamp store in SoHo
ProjectsB of the Bang, The Rolling Bridge
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Thomas Heatherwick (born 17th February 1970) is an English designer and artist. He is known for innovative use of engineering and materials in public monuments and sculptures. He heads the Heatherwick Studio, which he founded in 1994.


Born in London, he studied three dimensional design at Manchester Polytechnic and at the Royal College of Art, winning several prizes. Shortly after graduating from the Royal College of Art after a two-year furniture MA course in 1994, he was commissioned by Harvey Nichols department store in Knightsbridge to design a temporary structure for the shop's facade. His design was a ribbon of laminated wood that wound through the storefront windows. The design was widely acclaimed and won him a D&AD yellow pencil (the gold award) in 1997.

He founded Thomas Heatherwick Studio (now called just Heatherwick Studio) in 1994. His aim was "to bring architecture, design and sculpture together within a single practice". Originally based at Camden Mews, the studio moved to larger premises in Kings Cross in 2000. It presently comprises a thirty-strong team which includes architects, landscape architects, designers and engineers. Work is carried out from a combined studio and workshop where concept development, detailing, prototyping and small scale fabrication take place. The studio's work spans commercial and residential building projects, masterplanning and infrastructure schemes as well as high profile works of public art.

Heatherwick is a Senior Fellow and external examiner at the Royal College of Art. He is a fellow of the Royal Academy and was recently chosen to become a Royal Designer for Industry. He has served on numerous judging and advisory panels and has given talks at various institutions including the RIBA, Bartlett School of Architecture, the South Africa Design Indaba conference and the Royal Academy.

In 2004 he curated an exhibition at the Design Museum consisting of 1,000 'every day' design objects that he had collected.

Key works

The B of the Bang was a £1.42 million 56m-high sculpture of 180 giant spikes, erected outside the City of Manchester Stadium to celebrate the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Safety problems happened soon after it was completed in 2004 when one spike came apart. Eventually 22 more were removed as a safety measure. The object was rewelded and fenced off. It continued to cause concern and debate over its future. Finally Manchester City Council took legal action against Heatherwick studio and their subcontractors, who in November 2008 agreed to pay £1.7 million in damages. The installation was removed in 2009.[1]

The 'East Beach Café' is a building on Littlehampton Sea Front, West Sussex, UK created by Heatherwick. Commissioned in 2005, the large steel structure houses a Café by daytime and restaurant in the evening. The concept allowed the steel to rust and the colours to develop over time before being fixed in a transparent oil. It won the 2008 RIBA Award in the South East region.[2]

Notable works


Thomas Heatherwick was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts by Manchester Metropolitan University - his alma mater - on July 21, 2007. It is in recognition of his design work across a broad spectrum of architecture, engineering and public art, achieving national and international acclaim for his innovative use of materials, his eclectic range of projects, and the resolution of them in new and exciting ways.



  1. Grant, Len (2 September 2009). "Last Legs". East. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  2. e-architect, Royal Institute of British Architects Awards
  3. "Carpet" provokes different shades of opinion, Maev Kennedy article on the opening of the Blue Carpet, the Guardian, 26 January, 2002
  4. bdolnine, 22 May 2009, Heatherwick’s shining start-ups open in Aberystwyth
  5. The Guardian, 27 May 2009, Spikes, curls and crinkles

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