The early works of a designer may or may not presage his or her future trajectory. In the case of architect Thomas Heatherwick, his obsession with striated materials is evidenced in all his works, from the very big (his UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo, for example) to the very small (his Zip Bag) and from the very new (Teesside Power Station) to the very old.
’Very old’ in Heatherwick’s case (he celebrates his 41st birthday tomorrow) would be his 1991 Metal Thrones. These chairs’ arching contours and sci-fi attitude show all the precocious talent and taste the designer has since developed.
In an ingenious concept for an exhibition, the Aram Gallery is juxtaposing eminent designers’ early graduate work against their recent pieces, creating The Then Now Show. The idea emanated from design luminary Zeev Aram, who has spent a lifetime promoting young designers. Revisiting his archives recently, Aram realised that many of the names he has exhibited in the past are now at the forefront of the design industry. As such, the show will feature works originally selected and shown by Aram, alongside the designers’ choices of contemporary works.
Exhibiting next to Heatherwick are Konstantin Grcic, Sebastian Bergne, Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, Adam Brinkworth, Corin Mellor and Peter Naumann, among others. Perhaps predictably, some of the exhibitors’ maturer works pale in comparison with their youthful attempts, implying that what they have gained in finesse and brief-filling, they might have lost in creative vim – or, perhaps, that Aram has always had a great eye for great ideas.