This exhibition runs until September 30th as part of a season of events celebrating British design, and my daughter Bella and I went along to see it at the weekend. Although London’s V&A Museum is free, there is a charge for the exhibition: it cost £10 for the two of us. The tickets are timed, but we didn’t have to wait at all. The exhibition is in a gallery near the main entrance, and the first thing we saw was a quirky, hand operated machine where we turned a handle to roll out and tear off our own exhibition guide. Inside the gallery are more than 150 objects from the studio, ranging from a scale model of the London 2012 Olympic cauldron to a full-scale section of the new London double-decker bus. It was great to have a close look at the cauldron, but it is very small – maybe 30 cms high. There is a full sized petal next to it though, as used on the actual cauldron.
Thomas Heatherwick established the studio in 1994, and it pulls people together to collaborate across their disciplines, making the majority of their models in-house. Its work spans architecture, furniture, urban planning, engineering and sculpture – as well as bags. Bella was excited to learn about the design of the first Longchamp expandable zip bag, and enjoyed seeing the intricately designed Christmas cards which the studio has produced over the years.
I loved the design for Worthing swimming pool, which resembled a load of wood in a random pile, refelecting a woodpile which washed up on Worthing beach a few years ago. My favourite exhibit was a model of the cloud bridge, designed for an unnamed private house in the UK. The bridge is covered in reflective metal discs placed at many different angles and does resemble a beautiful, bridge-shaped cloud. I’d love to see what the actual bridge looks like, but there were no photos of it. Nor could we take photos inside the exhibition, so you need to go there if you’d like to see it for yourself.
It was crowded in the exhibition when we went, and the exhibits are very close together and so I definitely wouldn’t take young childen as they wouldn’t be able to see and would probably get frustrated. From the exhibition we went to the museum’s courtyard garden where people were enjoying sitting, rocking and spinning on a group of Heatherwick spinning chairs in a shady corner, while others cooled off in the central pool.