Friday 04 March 2016

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 Taipei Fine Arts Museum, New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio. The exhibition in Taipei 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, has toured to Singapore, China and Hong Kong; and will be on display in Taipei Fine Arts Museum from 5 March – 15 May 2016.

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 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 to provide an insight to the studio’s fascinating exploration of new ideas, materials, techniques and processes. 

The British Council is committed to bringing the highest quality of UK creativity to Taiwan, generating creative debate through public talks, workshops and guided tours to enrich Taiwan’s educational and cultural scene and to offer 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:

Exhibition Date: 5 March – 15 May 2016

Venue: Taipei Fine Arts Museum, No. 181, Section 3, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10461   

Opening Hours: 9.30 – 17.30 (Saturday until 20.30) Closed on Mondays.

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 China is 1 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 Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Founded in 1983, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) is Taiwan’s first museum of modern and contemporary art, and among one of the oldest in Asia. Venturing into its 32nd year, TFAM has dedicated itself to the development of modern art in Taiwan while staying abreast of ongoing trends in contemporary arts. It has pioneered the biennial trends for the region and overseen the operations of the Taipei Biennial since 1998 and the planning for the Taiwan Pavilion as a collateral event of Venice Biennale since 1995.

Over the past decades, TFAM has not only served as a platform to showcase exceptional works from both domestic and foreign artists, but also long become an incubator to engage in-depth exchanges between the Taiwanese and international art ecology. In 2002, TFAM has expanded into the realm of architecture with its retrospective show of the internationally-renowned architect Le Corbusier. TFAM’s annual Program X- site further pushes the boundary of architecture, public arts, and performance since its inception in 2014, to explore the possibilities of arts as a potential catalyst to reshape the city and its public domain. 

In 2016 to advance the millstone of past critically acclaimed architectural exhibitions such as ARCHIGRAM: Experimental Architecture 1961-74 (2003), Toyo Ito: Generative Order (2008), ARCHILAB. Collection du FRAC Centre (2008), Richard Rogers+ Architects: From the House to the City (2010), Glenn Murcutt: Architecture for Place -- Thinking Drawing/Working Drawing (2011), and Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture (2015), New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio (2016) aims to expand TFAM’s legacy in modern and contemporary architecture.

  • 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, the studio was founded 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 180 highly skilled architects, designers, and makers. The studio’s 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 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.

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 transform its Pacific Place development, a 650,000 square-metre mixed use development in Hong Kong. The studio rethought the circulation, opened up sight-lines and upgraded the development’s environmental performance by reducing energy use. 

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 and an arts and cultural centre, 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 56 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. Goodwin 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. She was awarded a RIBA Honorary Fellowship in 2016 in recognition of her contribution to the architecture profession.

  • About the Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts, London, was founded by King George III in 1768. It has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists. Its public programme promotes the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate.

The RA is undergoing a transformative redevelopment which will be completed in time for its 250th anniversary in 2018. Led by the internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield RA and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the plans will link Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens for the first time, uniting and revitalising the two-acre site. The redevelopment will also reveal the elements that make the RA unique, sharing with the public the historic treasures in its Collection, the work of its Academicians and the RA Schools, alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.

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 Taiwan, we have been doing this since 1996, 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.   

See also