Spark & Fire: Fuel Your Creativity

Creativity starts with play: Designer Thomas Heatherwick on NYC's The Vessel

Feb. 2, 2021

How do you change the creative brief? You start with play. The designer Thomas Heatherwick was asked to create a monumental public work for the plaza of vast new development in the heart of Manhattan. The expected route would be to copy what’s worked before on other plazas in other cities – a statue, a fountain. But Heatherwick knew he had to push past what was expected. Spark & Fire follows the journey of “Vessel,” a massive piece of public art, from its roots in traditional Indian forms, to its sophisticated construction and multi-year assembly, to its reception by the public – a complicated story that is still unfolding. It’s a story of creative bravery, play, and persistence – at the drawing board and in the meeting room.

Thomas Heatherwick is the principal of Heatherwick Studio, based in central London. The studio is known equally for bravura projects like the Seed Cathedral, Vessel, and the new Little Island over the Hudson, and for thoughtful, human-scaled commercial and residential developments small and large, like the delightful, award-winning Maggie’s Leeds.

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