Let Thomas Heatherwick tell you a bedtime story. “Can a bus be better and use 40 percent less fuel?” “Can you make a park out of the desert?” “Can a building express on the outside what goes on inside?” If you are Heatherwick, the multi-disciplinary, 40-something, British designer who is co-creating Google’s new headquarters with that other multi-disciplinary 40-something, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, the answer to all of these questions is YES. And why not? When you are writing the questions and the answers, it’s easy to succeed every time.
In the exhibition Provocations – which just opened at New York’s Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, after stops in Dallas and Los Angeles – and his revised and expanded monograph Making, Heatherwick posits the design process as a fairytale, in which no matter how many twists and turns the path takes (he would use the tech jargon “iterate”) you know it will come out happily ever after in the end.