Terence Conran mentored the young Thomas Heatherwick, whom he recently called ‘the Leonardo da Vinci of our times’. In fact, Heatherwick’s final degree project was assembled – and now resides – in the garden of Terence’s Berkshire home.
If Heatherwick was a star already at the start of 2012 – with, for example, the new design for London’s Routemaster bus under his belt – then he’s recently gone interstellar. His grand design for the Olympic cauldron, featuring 204 copper petals put in place by the athletes of each competing nation, was the centrepiece of an almost-universally praised opening ceremony.
He’s also the subject of a major exhibition at the V&A at the moment. Entitled Heatherwick Studio: Designing the Extraordinary, it examines a wide range of projects, from urban planning to fashion. Heatherwick’s multi-modal genius affirms a notion very close to our hearts, that great design requires only two ingredients: creativity and empathy.
If you’re at a loose end this weekend, you could do an awful lot worse.