D Museum: Inside Heatherwick Studio

Photo Aug 16, 10 06 19 AM.jpg[Currently Touring at the D Museum in Seoul, Exhibition open from June 16-October 23, 2016]

Today, we visited the D Museum. Their current exhibition is called “New British Inventors: Inside Heatherwick Studio” and features designs and projects by Thomas Heatherwick’s internationally acclaimed studio, shown in Korea for the first time.

The D Museum is actually an extension of the Daelim Museum and was opened just recently, in 2015; both museums focus on contemporary photography and design.

Here’s the view of the museum itself from the outside. A lot of geometric angles and edges– sleek black, beige and glass parts. It doesn’t seem that big from the outside, but you climb down stairs into a larger lower level once inside. Korea is a vertical world unlike the horizontal world of America.

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The exhibition featured a lot of innovative and creative designs and projects from the over 180 architects and designers now part of the Heatherwick Studio. Below are just a few of the many projects they had on display.

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“Mechanical services made elegant: Paternoster Vents, Paternoster Square, London, UK 2000– At first glance, these two steel forms could be viewed simply as pleasing sculptures. Their elegant forms disguise their true role as part of a cooling system for an electricity sub-station…”
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The beginning of the exhibition at a glance
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“Concept expressed through form: Al Fayah Park, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates est. completion 2018– To create a park in the desert climate of Abu Dhabi, the studio proposed a sunken landscape which would enable both visitors and vegetation to gain shade from the extreme heat. Conceptually its shape looks like sun-cracked earth, a synthesis between form and idea…” When looking closely, you can see trees and vegetation as well as recreational spaces. 
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Replica of UK Pavilion from Shangai Expo 2010
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What the inside of the Pavilion would look like 
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The original rod tips from the UK Pavilion. “The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership based at Kew Gardens in the UK is an international seed conservation programme which aims to bank a quarter of the world’s seeds by 2020. The team worked in collaboration with Kew and partner organisation the Kumming Institute of Botany, to place seeds at the end of each rod. At the close of the Expo, the ends of the rods were distributed to people across the world.” Pretty cool.
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You step into a big room and it just has these chairs everywhere. It was a cool interactive space and nice to get to experience these designs myself. Heatherwick Studio’s website describes it as “Spun-Hula!, a special comission for the D-Museum in Seoul, South Korea. This was the final exhibit in the last stop for the exhibition.”

I actually was a little sad I missed their previous exhibit, 9 Lights in 9 Rooms, (I got to see snippets from their exhibition book they had on display at their cafe) as it seemed much more matched to my aesthetic and interest, but the Heatherwick exhibit was still a nice visit. I appreciated that Korea is receiving global exhibitions now because that means we’re entering the “big” scene internationally, and I’d imagine the D Museum was very proud and happy to host this exhibit (and I was happy going through it) but I think I would’ve appreciated seeing Korean artists, architects, designers on display as well. I think because of the size of the museum, they can only have one exhibit at a time, so understandably but still regrettably, I wasn’t able to experience Korea’s art scene as much this time around. I did, however, learn of UK’s design prowess and left reminded of the capabilities of humans, coming up with solutions and ideas in ways I never could have imagined.

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