A boyish 37, Heatherwick, above left, is the son of a musician father and a jeweler mother whose workshop was packed with enameling kilns, pliers and jars of powders. By age 6 his sketchbooks were filled with ideas, including "a toboggan with a suspension system because I didn't see why my bum had to hurt." He still loves the challenge of getting things made "because if your idea only exists in a drawing, you miss opportunities to make it better."
His portfolio includes a holdall called Zip Bag for the French company Longchamp (which led to his designing its flagship store in New York City), a bridge in London that rolls in on itself like a pill bug poked with a stick, and a beach café that looks as if it was left out to rust on England's south coast.
Heatherwick's rolling bridge, above center and right, is a tourist attraction, but an upcoming oneentirely of glassshould garner greater acclaim. "I remember going to see a glass walkway as a child and thinking, Hang on, metal is doing all the work here. I don't want to see a glass bridge where metal is the daddy." But won't people slip crossing a glass bridge? Heatherwick's bright eyes sparkle: "No! There's going to be a nibbled surface, and every stiletto heel will chip it more." But with that, the designer must be going. While he was chatting, his restless brain suddenly came up with a new idea for door hinges for a restroom in a Hong Kong shopping center. He can't wait to build a working model.
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