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Thomas Heatherwick on Ingenuity, Transformation and Surprise

'The Leonardo da Vinci of our times’. This is how Sir Terence Conran has described Thomas Heatherwick, who has won a global reputation for transformation, experimentation and surprise. Join us to hear one of the most experimental and creative practitioners working in Britain today.

Thomas Heatherwick has been heralded as one of Britain’s most original creative talents. He is the founder of Heatherwick Studio which has brought design, architecture and engineering, along with a dash of sculpture and urban planning, all under the roof of a single practice, and won a global reputation for transformation, experimentation and surprise.

In July 2012 at the opening ceremony to the London Olympics the world gasped as Heatherwick Studio’s cauldron came together from 204 copper elements that were set alight and rose up to merge into one giant flame. That same year the studio’s sleek update of the Routemaster bus arrived on the streets of London. Combining the practicality of a double staircase with retro glamour and a quietly purring hybrid engine, the New Bus for London has succeeded in its aim of restoring dignity to public transport.

The studio is now working on large-scale projects across the world, including a new park and performance space on the Hudson River in New York, two mixed-use developments in Shanghai and a museum of contemporary African art in Cape Town.



Will Gompertz

Arts Editor of the BBC

Arts Editor of the BBC. He is a world expert on Modern Art and has written about the arts for The Times and the Guardian for over 20 years. In 2009, he wrote and performed a sell-out one-man comedy show about modern art at the Edinburgh Festival. Voted one of the world’s top 50 creative thinkers by New York’s Creativity Magazine. He is the author of What Are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye and Think Like An Artist…And Lead a More Creative, Productive Life.

Thomas Heatherwick

Founder of Heatherwick Studio

Founder of Heatherwick Studio, whose most notable projects include the Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 Olympic Games, the New Bus for London, and the award-winning UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010. Thomas is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and in 2013 he was elected a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The work of Heatherwick Studio has been the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.