D&AD 2019 Day 3

Day 3

The final day of D&AD already, what a festival. Today we have an exciting day with a very anticipated session with the Heatherwick Studio, a real creative icon and inspiration of mine. But first...

Creativity and design at Heatherwich Studio - Stuart Wood (Heatherwick Studio)

As I mentioned, huge fan of their work. From siting in design classes back at school almost 10 years ago they have continuously created the most aesthetically fascinating buildings, furniture, bridges, the Olympic cauldron and then the new London route master bus. Taking limitations and designing things that fit within them, then owning them. Firstly, we have ‘moving architecture’.

The stairs in the London bus for example doesn’t have to be a grand experience… but it can be. Hetherwick designs the internal functions of the location/object, (in this case bus) to be as user friendly and pleasing as possible, which then influences the outside. This is the same on so many of their projects. Another insight into the design Wood was explaining was all the glass, which was used to maximise the view of the city, public transport is after all the best way to see a city. Weather you are rich or poor, you get the same view, this was designed to bring everyone to the same level of status. He pointed out that if you were going round the city in a Lamboghini, you are looking at exhaust pipes through a tiny slit of glass, however on the Routemaster, you get a beautiful, panoramic view of the city

Next he told us about the ‘super social space’ of Hudson Yard in New York City. This piece was absolutely breath taking. Surrounded by high risers Heatherwick was asked to make a piece of art in the park surrounding. The design they landed on, a 150ft high structure, 150ft wide at the top. The base was much much smaller in order to take up as smaller footprint as possible. The idea was rather creating a piece of art or sculpture, which people take a picture of and go home, they wanted to encourage people to interact with the piece.


the structure provided light to the surrounding ground die to its warm, reflective cladding, drawing you in to investigate. Once you are in, the inside it is relatively urban, full of beautiful, repetitive staircases leading you up to the most stunning of views. The higher you climb, the greater the reward of the view is.

One of the philosophy of the Heatherwick Studio is to focus on the user, and all else will follow. Clearly evident in the Routemaster project.

The next project Wood showed was the project 1000 Trees in Shanghai, China. The first thought; when is a building a building? The location of the project is in an area which is surrounded by high-risers, super-urban, skyscrapers. Heatherwick decided they didn’t want to add to this unpleasant site and thought about how else a multi-use complex could be built… Buildings need beams, thats what holds them up, but the idea of this project was to use the beams differently. Instead of them being used conventionally, purely practically, they continued right the way through the building, coming right out the top. At the end of each beam, trees were planted, and the building elements sat inside.

Rather than adding to the concrete and industrial urban environment around it, this created two amazing artificial hills., where the complex was housed, making the whole area much greener. This style continued down one side, then the opposite side of the building was cut like a cross section, where the office areas were, like that of an ant hill.

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Wood explains that one of the main reasons Heatherwick Studios can create such mind-blowing designs is because the studio is run with holistic thinking. Meaning that the studio are involved with every element they need to consider from start to finish, rather than focusing on one section, with another studio/team on another and another on another, then sticking them all together at the end. When this is done it leads to some very incoherent outcomes, often not really working well in any aspect of the creation. If only we could knock the whole world down and have them rebuild it, we would live in a visually stunning, much more sustainable and environmentally aware world, building nature rather than tearing it apart.

Complex simplicity and how ideas travel - Stephen Hancock (TBWA)

TBWA is an advertising company that works almost exclusively for Apple. Stephen Hancock, before working for TBWA & Apple, worked for Nike. In Hancock’s session, he discussed four points that are vital to the idea of complex simplicity.

First ‘complex simplicity’, “If I had had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” (Quote unknown) - this is a great summary of what simplicity it. It is not easy, nor is it a sign that you have put less effort in, quite tho opposite. It takes much more thought and articulation to simplify something. You need to have understood it to such a deep level that you are the capable of simplifying it.

Secondly, ‘a simple idea’ for this, Hancock used the ‘shot on iPhone’ campaign as an example. This idea was pretty simple, find stunning photographs on the internet that have been shot on iPhone and stick them on a billboard. And it worked, it was hugely powerful and conveyed a very simple message very well. This trick behind this is three simple factors; simplicity, elegance and confidence.

Third, ‘ideas that travel’, if an idea has legs, it also needs to work across multiple forms, you have the initial idea, and off that comes all the other applications. Through out the whole process you start with a narrative, an idea, once this has been confirmed, it stays consistent throughout the whole creation process. At the beginning of the process you also start with an idea of what the project outcome may be, in this instance let’s say a full stop. Starting with that full-stop you need to expand every aspect of the campaign carefully, finally ending with a Nike town installation. If all the assets between the full stop and the installation work well, you have probably got a pretty solid idea.

And finally, ‘telling a story’, Hancock used Blue Plant as an example for this one. Everyone loves Attenborough’s series Blue Planet, but what a lot enjoy even more than the incredible imagery and videography, is the 5 minuets at the end of the show showing how they actually made the episode. People love a good story, so one of the most powerful ways to sell a product, is to sell a story, and the product second.

When proposing an idea, or considering wether or not to run with it, think about this and ask the following; an insight, a simple idea, can it stretch? - Why would someone talk about it?