Langa introduces us to some innovative designer/makers who explore and experiment with materials and scale, technologies, expectations or experiences.
“I always wanted to make things, and now I can express ideas in real projects at real scale.” Thomas Heatherwick
Thomas Heatherwick refused to conform to conventional ways right from a young age. He was ambitious and determined to build a temporary building – a pavilion – for his third-year project despite his tutors telling him to just build a model
Fast forward time, 20 years from when he graduated from a 3D Design degree to now – Thomas Heatherwick is a polymath and visionary, reigning in the fields of architecture, infrastructure, and sculpture.
In Spring 2018, I had an opportunity to meet this designer. Studying 3D Design at university myself, I bumped into Thomas Heatherwick outside his studio in King’s Cross. He invited me in and gave me a tour of the different departments in the studio. He was very down to earth and introduced me to some of the team then talked me through their projects, past and present. I felt encouraged by how they experimented with different materials for building physical models in their studio workshop. It gave me a feel for the potential of materials.
Looking back at the visit, Thomas Heatherwick had the right to not let me into his studio but he didn’t say ‘no’, despite the fact that he was busy working on major projects.
I hope this reflection about my experience demonstrates that it’s good to take up opportunities that present themselves in the moment. It has taught me to be bold and take chances and I will continue to do this in my own creative practice.
Below are a few examples of other designers/makers and artists who have gone against the norm and have inspired me.
Es Devlin Studio: Storytelling- Design
We all enjoy great stories that empower us as individuals and that enable us to imagine infinite space in our minds! Es Devlin draws inspiration from the power of storytelling- be that from her own up-bringing and interests in theatre and performance or through research using maths and science.
Joris Laarman Lab: Technology: 3D Materials and techniques
“We live in a fascinating time. An ordinary person has access to more information today than any world leader or noble prize winner ever had in the past. We are children of a time of transition: one foot in the industrial era and the other in the digital era and who knows, we may even get to experience the biotech era in which we might all stay young forever.” Joris Laarman.
When the experts are in disbelief and telling you your ‘settings’ are wrong for the idea you’re working on, what do you say? Well, Joris Laarman would say it’s only through endless trials and refining with the wrong settings that one breaks through to find the right conditions.
In 2013, designer and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits gave a TED talk on 4D Printing This implies that we may be able to programme the printing of materials that transform over time. Imagine a construction site with no workers or buying a piece of furniture that assembles itself!
Timothy Information Limited: Jewellery
Timothy information Limited is the alter ego of Tim Carson, the Punk Jeweller. He challenges our perception of ‘value’ and conventional jewellery through his work.
Tim is part of Dialogue Collective, a group of creatives who are finding ‘new ways of bring contemporary jewellery and objects to a wider audience’
Milan Tarasca: Sound, sculpture and performance
Milan Tarasca is gifted musically and visually. He uses his knowledge of sound to create soundscapes and makes sculptures for different channels within those soundscapes. Each sculpture has its own individual character.
Advisory note: Some of the artists featured in this article deal with adult language or imagery.
Interested in making work in 3D?