Uniting idea and form to create a coherent story becomes all the more challenging with architectural projects because of their inherent complexities of context, client, use and function. Equally, the studio’s approach poses an interesting challenge to aspects of conventional architectural practice. For the studio, the essential idea that drives an entire design tends to be conceptual rather than inherently architectural – a contrast with what is taught in many architecture schools.

The studio is guided by Heatherwick’s own acute skill of simultaneously conceiving the very large scale and the small details. As a result, the studio will focus on the big idea and the creation of a sculpturally coherent and distinctive object or building that will set it apart from its surroundings. Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi, for instance, has been imagined as cracked earth in the desert landscape. In parallel the studio will pursue the beauty and sensuality of the small details in equal measure, with obsessive attention to choice of materials and how components come together.

In the next few years a multitude of architectural projects will move from the drawing board to reality, created in Heatherwick Studio in London and brought to life around the world. The physical and material presence of these buildings, how they are used as well as their wider impact will become evident with time. As Heatherwick says in the exhibition film, “it feels as though we are only just getting going”.