Sunday, November 26, 2006

The B of the Bang

... is the name of a sculpture, conceived of by Thomas Heatherwick, which was built in Manchester, UK, for the 2002 Commonwealth Games. It derives its name from a quotation from Linford Christie, who said that he had to start not just at the bang of the starting pistol, but at the "B of the Bang".

It's a stunning sculpture - it stands taller than any other sculpture in Britain. I want to post some comments on Heatherwick as a designer, from an article in yesterday's Daily Telegraph.
Heatherwick's creations are certainly eccentric, but they never stray from his central belief that good design should be "readable rather than impenetrable": you need no background knowledge to be touched by their immediate, exhilarating brilliance. After studying design in an era when the world of architecture seemed impossibly rarefied - "There were all sorts of discussions about sacred geometries and things, but to my mind nothing interesting was being built" - he is determined to make things that will appeal to a universal audience.

"Is something dumbed-down if it appeals to an eight-year-old, and therefore of no interest to someone from an academic perspective?" he asks. "Or is there potential for something to have meaning across both levels? It is my aspiration to prove that there is."

Telegraph Review, 25/11/2006