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Heatherwick sculpture

March 16, 2005 ・ Blog

I went to the opening of designer Thomas Heatherwick’s new sculpture at the Wellcome Trust, near Euston, tonight. It’s simply amazing: 150,000 glass beads strung onto thousands of wires that are stretched 30m from floor to the top of an atrium. They form a shape that was generated by dropping molten lead into water.

The pictures can’t remotely capture it - the dense wires create a misty effect that’s coupled with the sharp refractions of the floodlights through the beads, which have dichroic film in them so they change colour as the angle you view them changes.

The sculpture is amazing, just like all of Heatherwick’s work. It’s spectacular, visionary and clever as hell, yet conceptually simple and comprehensible. Some people think it crosses some notional boundary between art and design, but it doesn’t, even if such a boundary existed. He makes things that pretty much anyone can understand, and that’s where the beauty in them lies.