Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thomas Heatherwick speech

Just came back from a great speech by Thomas Heatherwick. Very humbled by his vision and way of articulating his process. Most of his comments on architecture can be applied to design so it was just a very informative and encouraging share. While his interviewer/speaker no.2 交大教授曾成德talked about nothing. Mediocre content with a lot of fancy words that really means nothing at all. There was a moment when Heatherwick was distracted by something and said "oh I forgot what i was talking about" and the professor said "I forgot too" and moved on to the next topic. CRINGE. His answer to the question "a suggestion for students planning on becoming architects" is "be optimistic" and then laughs with a few audiences as if it was an inside joke. What kind of an answer is that, really? Overall, I just think design, architecture, anything remotely intellectual or requires some depth has no depth in Taiwan. At least in academia that is. I'm such a hater. Anyway back to Heatherwick, some ideas i can totally relate to/actually understand:

1) on how he dealt with projects from small ones to large scale buildings: you deal with whatever sized project as if it was the same scale, because the value of it is the same. Not starting from what to do, but looking at people's perceptions, their responses and expectations. The first context is people.

2)Create with ambiguity in mind is often better. people enjoy walking down the street and coming across something they discovered on their own. And how they decipher the object/building will always be more interesting than telling them directly what it is.

3)Architecture is about "making" and not just being good at math, where is the soul?

4)Don't patronize people by making what we think they will like. there is always room for innovation. Explore how you make progress, keep trying. Being human is going beyond just food and sleep.

5)on how to come up with solutions: educate yourself about the subject, decide what you don't want to do or don't want the solution to be, and budget will narrow you down.

6)on the problems encountered during design and how to confront it: it is frustrating because it is worth being frustrated for, never take the easy route. The more you believe in it, the harder it is. Building an actual building is hard enough as it is, the world of building is controlled frustration.

7)on possibility of collaboration with a brand: each project, each client is a brand.

8)on convincing clients: communication is key, and your ability to listen to your client is what it is about communication, not trying to convince them of your ways. relationships that can seem impossible will lead to amazing solutions. No one wants to be the bad guy turning your ideas down just to turn your ideas down. they just have a different point of view.


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