Tuesday 29 April 2014


Celebrated UK designer Thomas Heatherwick to deliver cross culture lecture in Hong Kong
Promoting the exchange and application of creativity and innovative thinking between the East and West

Thomas Heatherwick, the celebrated cross-discipline UK designer who created the Olympic Cauldron for the 2012 Olympic Games, the New Bus for London, and the award-winning UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010, will deliver the second Central Saint Martins Cross Culture Lecture, “The Bridge of Aspirations – Connecting East and West”, in Hong Kong today (29 April). The event is convened by Professor Jeremy Till, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London, and Head, Central Saint Martins, and Kai-Yin Lo, Visiting Principal Lecturer, Central Saint Martins, and co-presented by the British Council and the Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

The Lecture highlights the latest design scheme developed by Heatherwick Studio, a pedestrian garden bridge built at a key junction in Central London across the River Thames, supported by two huge planters made of brown cupronickel. The planned walkway will be strewn with flowering vegetation and verdant lanes where “every step would be as much an exploration as enjoyment”.

The event will be open by Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Government. It aims to celebrate and promote the exchange and exploration of innovative ideas, and bring home the need for their application and cross-fertilization on many levels.

In a series of spectacular designs and development executed during the last ten years, including the 2004 Rolling Bridge that curled up to allow access of boats at Paddington Basin, London. Thomas Heatherwick has shown the world a great variety of movement and forms, elevating the ordinary to the poetic, pushing explorations that stir and amaze.

Kai-Yin Lo, internationally renowned Hong Kong cultural historian and designer, and Principal Visiting Lecturer, Cross Culture, at Central Martins, said “Heatherwick’s design thinking and realization will serve as a bridge of aspirations in vision and scope connecting Hong Kong’s creative force with practitioners in the West.” At the Lecture, Ms. Lo will deliver an introduction on the meaning and significance, as well as the physical, cultural and symbolic representations of the Bridge in China and Hong Kong.
“As the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, the British Council has been working with the best of British creative talent to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations with artists and cultural institutions around the world,” said Kevin McLaven, Deputy Director of British Council Hong Kong. “It is our pleasure to co-present the Lecture and bring Thomas Heatherwick to Hong Kong for an invaluable exchange between the UK and Hong Kong.

“Asia Society is delighted to partner with British Council again to bring Thomas Heatherwick, an icon in the global design landscape, to Hong Kong. Heatherwick is highly regarded as one of the design and cultural leaders with his international profile, dynamic personality and versatility that will be inspirational to our local designers and community who aspire to make a difference in the creative world,” said S. Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center.

Notes to Editor

(1)   About Central Saint Martins and University of the Arts London                    

University of the Arts London is one the world’s largest institutions for education in the arts, design and communication. Its size and quality help to shape and influence the cultural economy in the United Kingdom and beyond. With students drawn from 100 countries, the University is enriched by the identities and long histories of its six constituent Colleges, of which Central Saint Martins is the best-known for its high achieving staff, graduates and students. The latter are noted for developing beyond the accepted norms of their subject.

The present Head of College, Professor Jeremy Till, distinguished architect, succeeded the renowned Professor Jane Rapley in 2012.

With its 150 years of history, Central Saint Martins’ famous alumni includes some of the most important British and international artists, from painters such as Lucien Freud and Frank Auerbach, to Sir James Dyson, the industrial designer and founder of Dyson Industries; Colin Firth, the actor and the latest wave of the world's celebrated fashion designers including Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo. Thomas Heatherwick holds an Honorary Doctorate from the College.                                                                              

(2)   About the Cross Culture Lecture

In an increasingly globalised world, there is ever more need for an understanding and exchange of international cultures. The Central Saint Martins Cross Culture Lecture series, initiated in 2013 with Kai-Yin Lo as its first Principal Lecturer, provides a perfect platform for the sharing and development of cultural discussions that cross boundaries, while at the same time preserving the identity of the individual parts.

(3)   About Heatherwick Studio

Established by Thomas Heatherwick in 1994, Heatherwick Studio is recognised for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, design and strategic thinking. Today a team of 120, including architects, designers and makers work from a combined studio and workshop in Kings Cross, London.

At the heart of the studio’s work is a profound commitment to finding innovative design solutions, with a dedication to artistic thinking and the latent potential of materials and craftsmanship. This is achieved through a working methodology of collaborative rational inquiry, undertaken in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.

In 2013 Thomas was awarded a CBE for his services to the design industry.

(4)   About Asia Society Hong Kong Center

Asia Society Hong Kong Center was established in 1990 by a group of Hong Kong community leaders, led by Sir Q.W. Lee, the honorary chairman of Hang Seng Bank. As the leading regional knowledge-based platform, the Center boasts extensive regional and international networks of leaders and recognized expertise in business and policy, arts and culture, and educational programming for a wide range of audiences, working independently and in concert with Asia Society New York headquarters. In February 2012, the Hong Kong Center established its new permanent home in Admiralty, Hong Kong.

(5)   About The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design

PolyU Design has been an important hub of design education and research for Hong Kong since 1964. Providing design education from undergraduate to postgraduate levels, the School is ranked among the world’s best 25 design schools and the top in Asia by Business Insider in 2012.

The year of 2013 sets a major milestone in the development of PolyU Design as its relocation to the Jockey Club Innovation Tower, the first permanent architecture designed by Pritzker Prize award winner Zaha Hadid, which fosters multi-disciplinary studies and collaboration.

PolyU Design’s specialisms include advertising, environment and interior design, product design, communication design, interactive and digital media. Its Master of Design (Design Strategies) programme was rated by the BusinessWeek among the world’s best “design thinking programmes”.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. 

We are in more than 100 countries and our 7,000 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 publically-funded grant-in-aid provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover, which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, 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.