Renowned as a creative thinker who changes the world, the architect Thomas Heatherwick’s exhibition “Building Soulfulness,” opened on June 29th at Culture Station Seoul 284. The exhibition with a collection of his works, co-organized by SUUM Project with the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, showcases the architectural world of Heatherwick in Korea as well, following a Tokyo exhibition held in April.
The exhibition begins in the grand hall of Culture Station Seoul 284, which exudes an atmosphere reminiscent of visiting a European cathedral. Starting with an encounter with a life-sized autonomous air-cleaning car in the hall, visitors move through the exhibition on the first and second floors to discover thirty projects. From drawings to sketches, models, test samples, perspective views, and more, visitors can see the results of the intense research and hard work that went into bringing these world-changing ideas to life.
What’s fascinating is the “soulfulness” in these imaginative products of innovation. While ingenious shapes and designs based on materiality are the weapons that capture the eyes, it is the care and empathy for people in urban environments that capture the hearts. What has made Heatherwick Studio a globally recognized architectural practice for more than three decades is its ability to bring artistic experiences into daily life, based on an understanding of the spaces we inhabit and nature.
The exhibition is composed of eight sections: ‘Coexistence’ ‘Sharing Soulfulness’ ‘Sculptural Spaces,’ ‘Nature in the City,’ ‘The future embracing the Past,’ ‘Use and Play,’ and a special section for the Seoul exhibition. It introduces over 30 iconic design works presented by Heatherwick Studio.
‘Coexistence’ showcases the studio’s work on human emotion in the smallest details, from the design of the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 to the London Olympic Torch, which was designed with 204 petals, and the ‘Routemaster’, a double-decker bus in London that has been upgraded to be more environmentally by improving the comfort and reducing the emissions of older designs.
In the ‘Sculptural Spaces’ section, a landmark of New York, such as ‘Vessel,’ and the Hainan Art Center in China are exhibited. It demonstrates spatial experiences enabled by Heatherwick Studio’s designs, which are the largest, most three-dimensional, and closest to sculptural works.
Additionally, Drawings, sketch notes, test samples, architectural models, and 3D prints detail the progress of the studio’s most recent projects, including 1000 Trees, a massive mixed-use development with 1,000 columns designed as giant planters that blend into their surroundings; Coal Drops Yard, a 19th-century coal warehouse transformed into dynamic architecture; and Azabudai Hills in Tokyo, Japan, a vast open space filled with lush greenery. The exhibition also introduces ‘Soundscape,’ a new design for a competition of Nodeul Island revamped as a ‘global art island’, which sits in the Han River in the heart of Seoul, and the ‘Core,’ an art museum being built in Seolhaewon, Yangyang.
Thomas Heatherwick said:
“It’s an honor to show my studio’s work in Seoul – an extraordinary city that has inspired me so much with its ambitious ideas and deep historical culture. My hope is that this major exhibition will empower visitors to look at the world that surrounds us and think even more about what we do and don’t want to happen.”
Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio’s exhibition, which design sustainable spaces for future with their own philosophy and approach, will continue until September 6th.