BLEIGIESSEN DESIGN BY HEATHERWICK STUDIOA
BLEIGIESSEN DESIGN BY HEATHERWICK STUDIO
Wellcome Trust, London, UK
The Wellcome Trust, a biomedical research charity, commissioned the studio to design a sculpture for the atrium of its new headquarters. The site for the sculpture was within an eight-storey high atrium space above a pool of water. Although a huge space, the sculpture was commissioned after the building was complete, meaning it had to fit through a standard sized front door.
The vertiginous quality of this space, coupled with the presence of water, suggested the idea of exploring ways of capturing the dynamic shapes of falling liquids. Following extensive experimentation, pouring molten metal into water was found to create extraordinary and complex forms in a fraction of a second. No two experiments produced the same result. Over four hundred of these were produced before a five centimetre piece was created and selected as it was felt it would work well with the building and is the basis of the final thirty metre project.
This original piece was digitised and exactly replicated using 142,000 glass spheres suspended on 27,000 high tensile steel wires; 15 tonnes of glass and just under a million metres of wire. The spheres, made in Poland in a spectacle lens factory, were the result of a collaboration with Flux Glass, their shifting colour and brightness coming from a layer of dichroic film set between the two hemispherical lenses that make up each sphere.
Bleigiessen can be viewed on the last Friday of every month at 2pm.
You may reach Heatherwick Studio's others projects from my blog archive UK Pavilion Shangai Expo, Extrusions , Bombay Sapphire Distillery and Boat River Loire – France to click below links.
Established by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994, Heatherwick Studio is recognized for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, design and strategic thinking. Today, a team of 90 architects, designers and makers, work from a combined studio and workshop in Kings Cross, London.
At the heart of the studio’s work is a profound commitment to finding innovative design solutions, with a dedication to artistic thinking and the latent potential of materials and craftsmanship. This is achieved through a working methodology of collaborative rational inquiry, undertaken in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.
In the eighteen years of its existence, Heatherwick Studio has worked in many countries, with a wide range of commissioners and in a variety of regulatory environments. Through this experience, the studio has acquired a high level of expertise in the design and realisation of unusual projects, with a particular focus on the large scale.
The studio’s work includes a number of nationally significant projects for the UK, including the award-winning UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the Olympic Cauldron for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the New Bus for London.
Thomas is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; a Senior Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum; and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Royal College of Art, University of Dundee, University of Brighton, Sheffield Hallam University and University of Manchester.
He has won the Prince Philip Designers Prize, and, in 2004, was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry. In 2010, Thomas was awarded the RIBA’s Lubetkin Prize and the London Design Medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to design.