Thomas Heatherwick is an innovative genius. Two words that get over used in this industry but two words that couldn't be more appropriate here.
Thomas Heatherwick is a designer who does amazing things like this:
This bridge, which takes obvious cues from nature, is the best thing I've seen in years. It's completely brilliant. Fantastic looking, brilliantly engineered, innovative, sensible, natural, a bloody good idea, in tune with it's surroundings. It's perfect.
There was an interview with him in last weeks ES magazine.
Two bits in particular struck me as fantastic advice for young designers or for people about to embark on a design career. I'm constantly interested in how creative people work and think and make decisions. This gives a small insight into that.
I find this fascinating. Give the choice between lengthy discussion about how the structure of a birds nest could be applied to a cathedral, he chooses making lots of things, fast and often. If you're a design student and you've ever wondered why your tutors go on and on about sketches and roughs - this is why.
Just like sketching Heatherwick wanted to try lots of things quickly. He wanted his ideas to evolve as he made them. Lots. Quickly. Making mistakes. Learning. Evolving. That's the best way to work.
Next there's this.
Several points to make here. First if you want to be a designer in the future you're gonna have to do stuff like this. You're going to have to take bold steps and you're going have to approach people with your ideas. You will have to be proactive. You simply can not sit around waiting for stuff to happen. And like I said here, you're probably going to have to start up on your own one day and so this stuff will be twice as important.
Secondly, and luckily, in the design world almost everyone is findable and approachable. There are no untouchable stars like there are in other industries. If you're dream is to work with Phillipe Stark you can probably find him and speak to him. You can't do that with the Chairmen of BP or HSBC. Terence Conran (love him or hate him) is about as famous as British designers get, and there he is strolling down your college corridor (admittedly the college is the RCA).
They neglect to mention this in the article but Heatherwick did this not long after leaving University.
It's a window display for Harvey Nicks and it won a D&AD Gold Award. Not bad for two years out of college, eh?
Does that feel inspiring to anyone else? Does that make sense?