Wednesday 09 September 2015

‘New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio’ exhibition launched in Hong Kong
A creative journey co-presented by British Council, GREAT Britain Campaign and PMQ with support from Swire Properties and KEF

The British Council, together with the GREAT Britain campaign and PMQ, unveiled the much-anticipated touring exhibition, New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio, at an opening ceremony held on 4 September 2015. With support from lead partners Swire Properties Limited and KEF, and airline partner Cathay Pacific, the exhibition aims to showcase British design and creativity throughout Asia, and is now on display at PMQ until 23 September 2015.

Officiating guests of the exhibition opening ceremony included Carrie Lam, GBS, JP, Chief Secretary of Administration, HKSAR Government; Caroline Wilson, British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao; Thomas Heatherwick, Founder, Heatherwick Studio; Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and the Drue Heinz Curator, Royal Academy of Arts; Mark Walker, Regional Director, East Asia, British Council; Robert Ness, Director Hong Kong, British Council; William To, Creative and Programme Director, PMQ; Alvin Kong, Director, Retail, Swire Properties Limited; Catherine Chan, Marketing Manager, Events & Promotions, Cathay Pacific Airways, Victor Lo, Chairman & Chief Executive, Gold Peak Industries (Holdings) Ltd., and Grace Lo, Marketing Director, KEF Audio Group.

‘We at the British Council are excited to showcase the best of British creativity, as exemplified by the innovative practice of Heatherwick Studio, and to share it with audiences in Hong Kong. As local creative industries continue to develop, international dialogue is important, fostering opportunities for discussion, collaboration and business. We are confident that Thomas Heatherwick’s inspirational and elegant work will motivate, mobilise and stimulate those who visit the exhibition at PMQ,’ stated Robert Ness.

The UK is home to a wealth of creative talent in areas ranging from architecture, interiors and product design to branding, advertising, graphics and digital communications. Speaking about the exhibition, Caroline Wilson, British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macao, said, ‘We are very pleased that it was possible to bring this exhibition to Hong Kong. Thomas Heatherwick is at the forefront of world-class creativity. His work shows how British design can cross international borders to great effect.’

Thomas Heatherwick said ‘It’s exciting to be back in Hong Kong again, on my 100th trip from the UK. My studio was first commissioned by Swire Properties to transform the Pacific Place development here in 2006. As well as thanking Swire, I would like to thank the British Council and our sponsors for their generosity as well as our curator, Kate Goodwin, who has found ways to show our work in a new and thoughtful light.’

‘New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio’ is divided into three sections: ‘Thinking’, ‘Making’ and ‘Storytelling’. It presents key projects, large and small, selected from a rich and expansive portfolio of work spanning twenty-one years. Curator Kate Goodwin stated that ‘the exhibition provides an intimate look at the creative process of the Heatherwick Studio through a range of projects from the last 21 years. Varying in scale, typology and location these projects show how the studio challenges conventional thinking and practice to create projects which are truly original.’

William To welcomed the exhibition to the heritage site, stating that ‘we are thrilled to be able to host such a prestigious event showcasing one of the world’s most brilliant designers. On behalf of PMQ management, we would like to thank British Council and Thomas Heatherwick for choosing our site to host this incredible show. I am sure our design community will be most inspired by the work of this great talent.’

Alongside the PMQ exhibition, an installation is being presented at Pacific Place, allowing shoppers and visitors to experience Heatherwick Studio’s reimagination of the complex as a distinctly contemporary luxury destination. Swire Properties commissioned Heatherwick Studio to contemporise its flagship development in Hong Kong, an exercise that involved interior, exterior, and architectural refinements to Pacific Place mall, its office lobbies, The Upper House hotel and a new restaurant building now home to The Continental. 

Supported by the GREAT Britain campaign - which seeks to showcase the best of British creativity to the world - the exhibition aims to provide a platform for other British companies and designers to develop collaborations and generate business opportunities. It is part of New British Inventors, a series of films, talks, workshops and masterclasses that will promote the best in British design, architecture, engineering, fashion, technology, industrial design, furniture and transport design in some of the world’s most important established and emerging markets. ‘New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio’ exhibition will continue to tour Asia, with further locations to be announced.

Details of ‘New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio’ exhibition:
Exhibition
Date: 5 - 23 September 2015
Venue: QUBE, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 12.00 – 20.00
www.pmq.org.hk

Installation at Pacific Place
Date: 3 - 24 September 2015
Venue: Garden Court, Level LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 10.00 – 21.00
www.pacificplace.com.hk

For information of the exhibition, please visit www.britishcouncil.hk/arts

Notes to Editor

(1)  ‘GREAT Britain’ Campaign

The ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012, in order to maximise the economic benefits to the UK from the unprecedented levels of attention associated with London Olympics 2012. It is the UK government’s most ambitious international marketing campaign ever and showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK. The ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign aims to deliver significant long-term increases in trade, tourism, education and inward investment in support of prosperity and growth by unifying the international growth promotion efforts of UK Trade & Investment, Visit Britain, British Council and Foreign Commonwealth Office. The campaign is currently active in over 144 countries and Hong Kong is one of the top priority markets for the campaign.

For more information, visit www.greatbritaincampaign.com (English only)

(2)  About PMQ

PMQ is part of the government’s ‘Conserving Central’ initiative and also one of the heritage conservation and revitalisation projects under Development Bureau. Awarded with the operating rights after an open invitation for proposals, the Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation Ltd (‘Musketeers Foundation’) has set up a non-profit-making registered charitable organisation to run this project, in collaboration with Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Hong Kong Design Institute of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), namely PMQ Management Co. Ltd. Not only to build this iconic design hub for the Hong Kong creative industries with the design community, PMQ also promotes ‘enterprising creativity’, creativity manifestation, and sets out to nurture more local designers. For more information, visit www.pmq.org.hk.

(3)  About Swire Properties

Swire Properties develops and manages commercial, retail, hotel and residential properties, with a particular focus on mixed-use developments in prime locations at major mass transportation intersections.  Swire Properties is listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong and its investment portfolio in Hong Kong comprises Taikoo Place, Cityplaza and Pacific Place as its core holdings. In addition to Hong Kong, the Company has investments in Mainland China, the United States, Singapore and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.swireproperties.com.

(4)  About KEF

KEF is a world leading British speaker brand with more than 54 years of innovation in pursuit of the clearest and most accurate reproduction of recorded sound. With a track record of pioneering award-winners from professional studio monitors of the Beatles’ era to the legendary Reference Series and the recent ground-breaking Muon, Blade and LS50, no other brand can equal KEF’s long list of design ‘firsts’.

Every KEF speaker, large or small, epitomises the seamless integration of quality engineering and outstanding design.

For more information, visit www.kef.com

(5)  About Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways is a Hong Kong-based airline offering scheduled passenger and cargo services to some 190 destinations in Asia, North America, Australia, Europe and Africa, using a fleet of around 150 wide-body aircraft. The company is a member of the Swire group and is a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Dragonair is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, and the airline also has a 60% stake in AHK Air Hong Kong Ltd, an all-cargo carrier operating regional express freight services. Cathay Pacific has made substantial investments to develop Hong Kong as one of the world's leading global transportation hubs. The airline is a founder member of the oneworld global alliance.

(6)  About Heatherwick Studio

Thomas Heatherwick is a British designer whose prolific and varied work over two decades is characterised by its ingenuity, inventiveness and originality. Defying the conventional classification of design disciplines, Thomas founded Heatherwick Studio in 1994 to bring the practices of design, architecture, sculpture and urban planning together in a single workspace. Thomas leads the design of all Heatherwick Studio projects, working in collaboration with a team of 170 highly skilled architects, designers, and makers. Thomas’ unusual approach challenges every brief from first principles, to produce unique solutions for each project’s needs. In applying artistic thinking to the needs of modern cities, the team is engaged in creating some of the most acclaimed and memorable projects of our time.

Based in London, Heatherwick Studio is currently working in four continents on projects valued at over £2 billion. Its international reputation is founded on projects such as the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo in 2010, the Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 London Olympic Games and the design of the New Bus for London. Having recently completed a major new university building in Singapore and a gin distillery in Britain, the studio’s current projects include the Garden Bridge over the River Thames, eight million square feet of mixed-use development in Shanghai and the new glass-domed Google campus in Silicon Valley in collaboration with BIG.

Thomas trained in three-dimensional design in Manchester and at the Royal College of Art in London, and has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, a Royal Academician and in 2004 became the youngest Royal Designer for Industry.

Microsite: Inside Heatherwick Studio

For more information, visit: www.heatherwick.com

(7)  Heatherwick Studio projects in Asia

The studio’s Seed Cathedral won best pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.  With a limited budget, the studio concentrated its efforts on a small corner of the site, building world’s largest hairy building as a home to Kew Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Swire Properties commissioned the studio to contemporise Pacific Place, a 650,000 square-metre mixed-use development in Hong Kong. The studio crafted interior, exterior and architectural refinements, including improvements to the circulation, sightlines and the development’s environmental performance by reducing energy use. The studio also designed the exterior of The Continental, a restaurant on the podium of the development, as well as the exterior of the Upper House hotel, and upgraded the development’s office building lobbies.

The Shanghai Bund Finance Centre is a mixed-use development in Shanghai designed jointly by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio. Currently in construction, the 420,000 square-metre development includes two landmark towers, and combines premium office space with a boutique hotel, an arts and cultural centre and a variety of luxury retail spaces, all arranged around a generous landscaped public plaza.

The studio recently launched the Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. A new multi-use building for the university’s 33,000 students, the project interweaves both social and learning spaces to create a dynamic environment conducive to interaction between students and professors. Twelve towers, each a stack of rounded tutorial rooms, taper inwards at their base around a generous central atrium to provide fifty-six tutorial rooms without corners or obvious fronts or backs.

(8)  Other current projects

The Garden Bridge will improve pedestrian links across London’s River Thames by providing both a thoroughfare and a destination in and of itself. Growing out from two piers in the river, the structure supports the many tons of soil necessary for an English garden, complete with trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses.

Heatherwick Studio is designing the new 2.7 acre Pier55 in New York as a combined public park and performance space. Inspired by the hundreds of wooden piles remaining from the river’s historic piers, the new concrete piles rise out of the water and fuse together to form the park topography and amphitheatres.

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is a project by the studio to convert an historic grain silo in Cape Town into a world class museum.  By carving galleries and an atrium out of the silo’s cellular concrete structure, the studio was able to integrate the building’s history into a practical design for a new museum.

The studio’s 2014 Bombay Sapphire Distillery and visitor centre in Hampshire received BREEAM certification for sustainability. The project involved preserving and restoring English Heritage-listed mill buildings, widening the River Test, and designing two unique glasshouses for growing the herbs and spices that infuse the gin.

(9)  About Curator Kate Goodwin

Kate Goodwin is Head of Architecture and Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts. Most recently she curated the renowned exhibition Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, (January – April 2014) in the Main Galleries of the Royal Academy. She has also curated the exhibitions Constructed Landscapes (2011), Relics of Old London: Photography and the spirit of the city (2010), Andrea Palladio through the eyes of contemporary architects (2009) and Paper City: Urban Utopias (2009). She is author of Dandelion: the making of the UK pavilion (2011) a book about Thomas Heatherwick’s UK pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes. In Hong Kong, we have been doing this since 1948, giving people opportunities to learn, share and connect worldwide.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.  

For more information, please visit: http://www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://blog.britishcouncil.org/. To learn more about British Council in Hong Kong, please visit www.britishcouncil.hk and www.facebook.com/BritishCouncilHK.