What To Keep & How To Keep It

Practical And Philosophical Insights Based On The Archival Decisions Of Heatherwick Studio.
Heatherwick Studio, 356-364 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8BH
Photography Credit: Fabian Ong

What stays and what goes? Artists and others working three-dimensionally have to make decisions every day about what’s important enough to keep and what gets thrown away, especially in London where escalating rent prices put space at a premium. These decisions only get more complicated as the ambition, scale and volume of an artist’s project(s) increase and even more so, when their works are recognised as making a key contribution to our time. Ideally, this goes hand-in-hand with being able to afford more space and perhaps a few experts to help in the decision making and practicalities of this process.

Established by renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick in 1994, Heatherwick Studio is recognised for its work in architecture, urban infrastructure, sculpture, design and strategic thinking. Today a team of 170, including architects, designers and makers work from a combined studio and workshop in Kings Cross, London. At the heart of this hive of activity 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 enquiry, undertaken in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.

Archivist, Alice O’Hanlon and Model Conservator, Georgina Wesley will gave Pangaea and guests behind-the-scenes access to the Heatherwick Studio archive and conservation area. They shared insights into Heatherwick Studio’s approach to archiving, exploring practical considerations, such as how you retroactively preserve a suitable trace of a key work for prosperity. They also considered philosophical concerns, including what traces get kept and why.

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