EXHIBITION

IN PICTURES: Hong Kong showcase for designer Thomas Heatherwick

Celebrity British designer remodelled Pacific Place in 2008 and was behind London's Garden Bridge over the Thames. Tens of thousands have seen touring exhibition in Beijing and Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 August, 2015, 5:28pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 August, 2015, 5:28pm

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Organisers of the upcoming “Inside Heatherwick Studio” exhibition hope it will make as big a splash in Hong Kong as on its earlier stops in mainland China, where tens of thousands visited the show to better understand how one of the world’s best creative minds operates.

The retrospective of celebrity designer Thomas Heatherwick, opening to the public from September 5 at PMQ in Central, was particularly relevant to Hong Kong because of the work he had done in the city, said Robert Ness, director of the British Council Hong Kong.

Heatherwick’s redesign of the Pacific Place complex was widely regarded locally as a success and the shopping centre’s owner, Swire Properties, was one of the sponsors of the upcoming exhibition, said Ness. Heatherwick is also a regular visitor to Hong Kong for work and for public appearances, such as giving last year’s Central Saint Martins Cross Culture Lecture at the Asia Society.

Heatherwick was just 38 years old when he won the Pacific Place contract in 2008, but he already had a formidable reputation by then. Back in 2005, he was asked to redesign Wan Chai’s Southorn Playground,  but the project was cancelled by the government because of high costs.

Some extremely high-profile projects have turned him into one of the most well-known names in design and architecture in recent years. He was responsible for the design of the UK pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the redesign of London’s Routemaster bus, and more controversially, the Garden Bridge over the Thames which has divided opinions in the British capital.

Today, his studio claims to be working on projects valued at over £2 billion.

Ness said that, while the British Council was not in the business of promoting any one individual, the exhibition was part of ongoing efforts to strengthen ties between the creative industries in Hong Kong and in Britain.

The travelling exhibition attracted 45,251 visitors in Beijing and 28,180 visitors in Shanghai, where it ran for more than three weeks. It also went to Singapore earlier and will be staged in Seoul and Mumbai after closing in Hong Kong on September 23.

A separate installation of Heatherwick’s gravity-driven Spun chairs would be installed inside Pacific Place in order to drive more traffic to the main exhibition at PMQ, Ness said.

"New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio" runs from September 5 to 23 at The Qube, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central. It is open daily from 12pm to 8pm