Without doubt the ugliest and least aesthetic nomination, Extrusions by Thomas Heatherwick Studio should, in our opinion, be considered more a “work in progress” than an actual product in its own right.
Born in London, Thomas Heatherwick studied at Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art in London before establishing his own studio in 1994. Based in Kings Cross, London Heatherwick Studio is a conglomeration of architects, designers and engineers who have worked on a range of architecture and public art projects. Many of Heatherwick’s architectural works focus on finding new solutions to problems and experimenting with materials.
As wonderfully demonstrated by Extrusions.
Premiered at the Haunch of Venison Gallery during 2009 London Design Festival, Extrusions is the worlds first single component metal furniture piece extruded by machine.
Extrusion is, basically, forcing material through a pre-formed cross section “die” – think of it as a mould through which the raw material is pushed, and you won’t be that far away.
Macaroni, for example, is produced by extrusion.
Heatherwick’s benches were, however, produced on the worlds largest extrusion machine – a machine normally used for producing components for aircraft – and represent the first prototypes of a 100m long bench that should be finished in the course of 201o.
And they look like it. A sort of Ron Arard meets Frank Gehry meets a case of very agreeable St Emillion.
But that is not the point.
The point is that metal extrusion offers a new method for furniture production; and for all furniture production wth materials that would normally be too brittle to work.
And that is the strength of the project. It pushes the borders of what is possible and forces new ways of considering how one constructs furniture
In years to come the first benches will be worth more money than an average aluminium miner earns in a lifetime; but they may just be the first step to developing furniture that he can afford.
Extrusions, Thomas Heatherwick Studio
Chances of winning the 2010 Brit Insurance Design Award: very good