Monday 10 August 2015


British Council brings ‘New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio’ exhibition to PMQ in Hong Kong
A creative journey made possible with support from Swire Properties

As part of the GREAT Britain campaign, the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural and educational opportunities, today announced a major exhibition co-presented with PMQ, New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio. The exhibition in Hong Kong showcases the innovation and creative process of Heatherwick Studio, founded by renowned British designer Thomas Heatherwick. The exhibition, curated by Kate Goodwin, Head of Architecture and the Drue Heinz Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, is currently touring in mainland China. The exhibition will be on display in PMQ from 5 – 23 September 2015, with generous support from the lead partner Swire Properties Limited.

Founded in 1994, the multi-disciplinary Heatherwick Studio is recognised for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, design and strategic thinking. From the award-winning UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo to the inspirational reimagining of Hong Kong’s very own Pacific Place, as well as projects like the New Bus for London, the 2012 London Olympic Games Cauldron, and the NTU Learning Hub in Singapore, the studio has shown a dedication to finding and producing creative design solutions. 

The exhibition features projects from 20 years of Heatherwick Studio, ranging in scale from furniture to urban masterplanning.  By utilising the studio’s extensive archive, including 1:1 scale prototypes, models, test pieces, drawings and photographs, the exhibition aims  at providing a fascinating insight into the studio’s exploration of new ideas, materials, techniques and processes.

Alongside the exhibits staged at PMQ, an installation will be presented at Pacific Place, allowing shoppers and visitors to experience Heatherwick Studio’s reimagination of the complex into a distinctly contemporary luxury destination. Swire Properties commissioned Heatherwick Studio to contemporise its flagship development in Hong Kong, which involved interior, exterior, and architectural refinements to Pacific Place mall, its office lobbies, The Upper House hotel and a new restaurant building.  

The British Council is committed in bringing the highest quality of UK creativity to Hong Kong, generating creative debate through public talks, workshops and guided tours to enrich Hong Kong’s educational and cultural scene and to promulgate learning opportunities and arts experiences for the general public.

Supported by the GREAT Britain campaign which showcases the best of British creativity to the world, the exhibition aims to provide a platform for other British companies and designers to develop new collaborations and generate new business opportunities. It is launched as 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 details:
Date: 5 - 23 September 2015
Opening Ceremony: 4 September 2015
Venue: QUBE, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: 12.00 – 20.00

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

Full exhibition details to be announced in August 2015. For information of the exhibition, please visit

Notes to Editor

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.

GREAT messages are organised around a series of ‘pillars’: Heritage, Culture, Countryside and Sport for tourism audience; Innovation, Business, Entrepreneurs, Technology, Creativity and Green for businesses and investors; and Knowledge and Education for students.

For more information, visit (English only).

About PMQ
PMQ is part of the government’s ‘Conserving Central’ initiative and also one of the heritage conservation and revitalisation projects under the Development Bureau. Awarded with the operating rights after an open invitation for proposals, the Musketeers Education and Culture Charitable Foundation Ltd (‘Musketeers Foundation’) set up a non-profit-making social enterprise to run the project, in collaboration with Hong Kong Design Centre, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the Hong Kong Design Institute of the Vocational Training Council (VTC), namely PMQ Management Co. Ltd. Not only a new address for the Hong Kong creative industries, PMQ also promotes “enterprising creativity” and sets out to nurture more local designers.

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

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:

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 420,000square-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.

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.

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: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through To learn more about British Council in Hong Kong, please visit and