Thursday, 12 March 2015

Heatherwick Studio in National Design Centre

"The British are coming !"  This isn't the panic scream of Paul Revere. It's more like an lead-in announcement from the relevant Singapore organisation. They're coming to Singapore in March with their campaign of the GREAT British Week (they're yelling "great" with their full caps, not me. I'm just echoing it faithfully). This year, it also coincides with SG50 and the Singapore Design Week.

I missed the SingaPlural, which is the major player that kicked off in the Design Week. I'll pencil it in for next year.

Bloodhound SCC. This baby moves faster than most commercial planes.

I haven't been to any design museum or such institution since I've been in SG. It's time to do so. I'm quite keen to have a close look at the Bloodhound SSC that was on display in this GBW. But its (free) tickets run out quicker than the Bloodhound car. I wasn't feeling the pulse close enough. After all, I'm neither a designer nor car mad hatter.

The next best thing was to see the Heatherwick Studio, which was held in the atrium of the National Design Centre, located right opposite the National Library.

I had never heard of Heatherwick Studio, I thought I didn't know anything about them. As it turned out, I've seen their works before.

Model of UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, Heatherwick Studio, Singapore
Model, UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 in Heatherwick Studio
UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010
 UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010

This structure that looks like either UK rock star Rod Stewart's hairstyle or the bearskin of the British Foot Guards is in fact the the UK Pavilion appeared in the Shanghai Expo. I saw it while visited Shanghai in 2010. It certainly was one of, if not the most eye-catching pavilions among many all vying for attention.

Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart (in case you aren't a baby boomer)
"" by Adrian Pingston

Interior, Model of UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010, Heatherwick Studio, Singapore
Cut-away model of UK Pavilion, interior

I didn't get inside the UK Pavilion during the Shanghai Expo visit. There were simply too many pavilions with too many long queues and too little time. I'm very surprise by the cutaway of this model, showing what seemingly much smaller space inside the UK Pavilion than I imagined. Perhaps the spikes project an illusion of GREAT size. This is also the same reason for the Queen's Guards wearing bearskin hats - to make them look bigger than they really are (the same reason why we have goosebumps when frightened). Either that, or that they try to put smiles on our faces, or make us want to give them bear hugs. Before the 20th century, it's the 1st reason. Afterwards, it's the last 2 reasons.

In any case, don't wear bearskin in Singapore if you want to avoid heat-stroke. Rod Stewart is fine. He's fine to get through Singapore Airport now (if you don't understand this joke, you're probably younger than a baby-boomer).

A close look at each of the transparent spikes or rods of the UK Pavilion would reveal that they contain plant seeds. They look like those insect specimen that encased in clear plastic that you would have seen before, except they're plant seeds. It's part of the international seed conservation program. Sort of like Noah Arch for plants instead of animals.

Arts and Cultural Centre. Bund Finance Centre, Shanghai, China.
Arts and Cultural Centre. Bund Finance Centre, Shanghai, China.

This is another building I was aware of. Of course, I haven't seen it as it hasn't been completed. I had no idea that Heatherwick mob also has a hand in it.

Model, Arts and Cultural Centre
Model, Arts and Cultural Centre

While the studio designs architecture around the world, it's not surprising that they have a fair share of projects in Shanghai, which is a boon for architectural firms who could handle large projects, and has an interesting portfolio. Perhaps, they had made a name for themselves there, and building up local guanxi since they showcased their spiky UK Pavilion.

Mogashan, Shanghai, China
Mogashan, Shanghai, China. Est. time of completion 2018

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