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Can this book be bigger than the sum of its parts?
on 7 June 2012
I confess that I'm a Heatherwick groupie, so I am predisposed to like this book. It features all the Heatherwick designs I know and love - including the B of the Bang, the rolling bridge and the handbag made entirely of zips - along with lots and lots of new ones.
The book is arranged chronologically, from 1989 to 2011, and every "chapter" deals with a separate project. I haven't counted the projects exactly, but there are getting on for 150 in all. Each chapter-heading is a question...
How can you make a sleeping policeman work harder?
Can friction alone hold the pieces of an object together?
Can a Christmas card be bigger than its envelope?
Can a tower touch the sky gently?
Can the complex programmatic needs of a spiritual building be brought together with a single idea?
Can you squeeze a chair out of a machine, the way you squeeze toothpaste out of a tube?
...and each question is answered by just enough text, supported by a wealth of images - photographs, sketches, artists' impressions, whatever is necessary to elucidate the answer to the question.
I haven't explored all 600 pages of the book thoroughly yet, but so far I love it.
(28 July: I was delighted to discover last night that the wonderful 2012 Olympic cauldron is a Heatherwick design. Pity it came too late to be included in the book.)