Heatherwick Studio, led by Thomas Heatherwick, is holding its first solo exhibition in Japan called “Building Soulfulness”. The show features 28 of the studio’s most iconic designs, including London’s redesigned double-decker bus, Little Island, and a full-scale model of Airo, a car that cleans the air as it drives. The exhibition is curated by Mami Kataoka, formerly International Curator of the Hayward Gallery in London, and will be held at Tokyo City View until 4 June 2023.
Divided into six sections, the exhibition explores the idea scaling up the soulfulness frequently associated with small objects and the central role of craftsmanship in the studio’s design approach. The studio believe that each design can have a human scale, embrace the natural world, and connect with the environment around it. Visitors can explore the projects through models, playful objects, video content, and large-scale images hanging from the ceiling. The exhibition is an immersive experience, offering a variety of vistas and viewpoints that evoke the three-dimensionality of the studio’s work.
The exhibition’s opening section features the full-scale part of the Routemaster bus and a model of Airo. Section one, “Coming Together”, showcases how smaller parts can come together to create a surprising, holistic bigger picture. Section two, “Connecting with Everyone”, displays designs that craft opportunities for togetherness and connection with natural light and air. Section three, “Experiencing Sculptural Space”, focuses on sculptures designed for spatial experiences. Section four, “Feeling Nature in Urban Space”, displays designs that incorporate trees and nature into urban settings. Section five, “Bringing Memories to the Future”, shows how the studio carries memories of buildings that have outlived their original function and incorporates them into current designs. Section six, “Playing and Using”, showcases projects that have a playful streak to them.
The exhibition is an attempt to showcase the essential philosophy and spirit of Heatherwick Studio’s design by providing six distinct perspectives. Visitors will be able to experience the true scale of architecture in an art gallery through the sets designed by the studio combined with the grand Tokyo cityscape seen from the Tokyo City View observation deck.
Mami Kataoka, the Director of the Mori Art Museum and the curator of the exhibition said: “The sets designed by the Studio, combined with the grand Tokyo cityscape seen from the Tokyo City View observation deck, will immensely enhance the viewers’ exhibition experience. It is my sincere hope that the show would speak to everyone’s soul.”
Heatherwick hopes that visitors will leave the show feeling like their emotions were an essential part of the studio’s thinking and fascination.
Heatherwick Studio: Building Soulfulness
– Duration: March 16 – June 4, 2023
– Location: Tokyo City View
– Head Curator: Mami Kataoka