On his 90th visit to Hong Kong, Thomas Heatherwick talks with Perspective about his affections for the city
Thomas Heatherwick is no stranger to Hong Kong. During his frequent stays, the London-based designer splits his time between his local office, Pacific Place (the site of his current project) and, usually, attending seminars. For him, Hong Kong is unique – a mix of distinct qualities which both fascinate and, at times, irritate him. We met up with Heatherwick after he had spoken to an audience of 900 people at the recent Make a Difference (MaD) event, when he offered his unique takes on Hong Kong’s social phenomena… and why he loves to be here.
So what do you love about
Does the density of
I love it. I think the wonderful thing about density is that it allows you to feel protected, but you can also have incredible privacy. If you live in a village, everybody sees what you do and knows what you are doing. In some sense you can have the greatest calm and be in your own thoughts in the city. I love the countryside deeply, but I think cities are incredible things. I think density allows that lovely chemistry of people bumping into each other. When they interact with each other, ideas happen; developments happen. The amazing ideas in the world happen in cities in general.
When we were first asked to look at that site, I found an astonishing smell – the smell of all the dried, extraordinary creatures that once lived in the sea. There was an overwhelming sense of texture. I was aware that buildings can easily come in and kill that by being too smooth, too flat, too shiny and too ‘inhuman’.
** Images show Heatherwick’s new RouteMaster bus for London, and the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo in 2010 (c) Iwan Baan **