Wednesday, 16 June 2010

In praise of...Thomas Heatherwick, Architect

So a couple of weeks ago, catching up with my friend Pat she mentioned that she had just returned from the Expo in Shanghai, where she had been supporting her friend Thomas Heatherwick, who designed the UK Pavilion. Have only just got round to doing a little internet snooping about the Expo, since I am prepared to accept that there may have been extensive media coverage of it here but I could have missed it due to Election 2010 etc.

It is staggering !

This is it - not a mirage, it's an actual construction but it looks ethereal, almost as if it appeared on the horizon and couldn't possibly have been constructed.   The full details of the project are here but for now consider this:-

"The Seed Cathedral is a platform to show the work of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and their Millennium Seedbank. In the circulation zone under the landscape that surrounds the Seed Cathedral a series of installations explore in more detail the particularity of nature and UK cities.

The Seed Cathedral is a 20-metre high building, constructed from 60,000 transparent 7.5-metre long optical strands, each of which has embedded within its tip a seed. The interior is silent and illuminated only by the daylight that has filtered past each seed through each optical hair; a quiet space in which to contemplate this formidable collection of the world’s botanical resources."

I URGE and IMPLORE you to visit the website via the link above, where in addition to further details and an amazing video of the Seed Cathedral ( which I think looks like a huge dandelion seed) with the long optical strands shimmering and looking breathtakingly beautiful, there are other photos of his work including this:

The East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton (picture: Andy Stagg)

And this Bermondsey connection

Cladding around Boiler Unit at Guy's Hospital

I love it when people look at the world differently and somehow conjure up the impossible.  I'm not saying that all modern design or architecture is wonderful but doesn't this make you stop and gaze and smile ?  And these places are all functional.

So I have now checked Google again and you have to search quite hard to find much UK media coverage of this astonishing example of the best of British, attracting more visitors than any other at the Expo.   It turns out that I didn't miss the coverage during Election '10 ...because there wasn't any worth mentioning.

My little blog is unlikely to make a difference but come on, there are so many reasons to be worried and gloomy and cynical but this is an example of something fearless and an achievement of the seemingly impossible so BE PROUD! 

1 comment:

  1. It's staggering BM. Looks other-worldly but very beautiful. Incredible that something so monumental can also look so delicate.