“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.” –Paul Rand

Paloma Strelitz and James Binning, Assemble Studio

Representing the young London collective Assemble, Paloma Strelitz and James Binning shared why it's important to be imaginative about what neglected urban spaces can be redeemed, showcasing work in former gas stations and underpasses. The pair's advice for designers just starting out: "Self-initiate projects, [or risk] coming to the table too late to ask the big questions."
Thomas Chapman, Local Studio

Architect Thomas Chapman is inspired by the conviction that South Africans must "reknit" historically segregated communities using public space. To stifle popular demonstrations, the apartheid-era government restricted where assembly halls could be built, a legacy that has left the nation a paucity of community hubs. Local Studio recasts disused infrastructure in Johannesburg, such as a former German consulate building, as affordable housing, cultural centers, and parks.
Entering the show, viewers are prompted to crank a large mechanical device for a takeaway exhibition brochure—a fitting representation of Heatherwick Studio's inventive, tinkering approach to design.
Provocations presents an assemblage of models, prototypes, videos, photography, and product designs produced by Heatherwick Studio since its founding in 1994.
Garden BridgeUnlike a pricey ride to the top of the Shard, London’s tallest building, visitors to Heatherwick’s proposed Garden Bridge would be able to take their time across the slowest bridge in the city. Rather than yet another skyward blue construction, this is a horizontal green one: a pedestrian garden-cum-bridge across the Thames.

“It mustn’t feel like we went to the bridge shop,” Heatherwick says. “The hero of a garden bridge must be the garden.” Trees will be planted near the load-bearing columns.

Heatherwick credits the idea to his friend, actor Joanna Lumley (of AbFab fame), and its public appeal to the proven success of New York’s High Line. Funding for the £150,000,000 ($250,000,000) project is to come from private donors; Heatherwick says that they’re nearing the two-thirds mark and hopes that all London lovers will donate, be it a penny or a pound. Visit 

gardenbridgetrust.org to learn more.

Photo courtesy: Arup.
In designing the U.K. Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, the studio extended 66,000 acrylic rods from the exterior of a structure to create a shimmering, dandelion-like surface that forms an optical Union Jack pattern when seen from a distance. Inside each of the rods was a collection of 250,000 seeds from the Millennium Seed Bank at London's Kew Gardens, lending the pavilion its unofficial name, "Seed Cathedral."
A section of Heatherwick's new bus design, barely clearing in size for an installation within the main staircase of the Cooper Hewitt, emphasizes its impressive scale.
Maxwell Mutanda & Safia Qureshi, Studio [D] Tale

Designers Maxwell Mutanda and Safia Qureshi run Studio [D] Tale, a multinational firm based in Cape Town, London, and Harare, Zimbabwe. Together, they orchestrate ambitious, user-driven solutions to social and environmental problems, like making a wayfinding network for cities with informal public transit or a system for giant coffee chains to replace disposable cups with reusable ones.
Dave Hakkens onstge at Design Indaba. Image courtesy of Design Indaba.
Ian Murchison, co-founder of the Federal, onstage at Design Indaba. Image courtesy of Design Indaba.
Teshia Treuhaft addresses the Design Indaba conference in Cape Town on February 26. Photo courtesy of Design Indaba.
Benjamin Hubert, Layer

British industrial designer Benjamin Hubert walked the audience through the time and energy it takes to design an original object, then unveiled a data-driven plan to drastically cut waste. Arguing that we have more than enough chairs, tables, and sofas already, he suggested that designers put some of their resources toward more socially conscious work. Layer, for instance, recently redesigned charity donation cups for businesses in England, driving an 80 percent uptick in contributions.
Yogita Agrawal, Yogita Agrawal Design

Recent Parsons graduate Yogita Agrawal electrified attendees with Jhoule, a wearable task light that is motion-powered. Made for rural communities in India, where people walk an average of 1-2 hours every day on unlit streets, the device underwent a redesign after an unsuccessful first launch to resemble traditional jewelry.
Christian Benimana, MASS Studio Rwanda 

The audacity of Rwandan-born architect Christian Benimana's mission—to uplift working conditions and infrastructure in the developing world—is matched by his personal biography. Inspired by design early on in life, Benimana was crestfallen to learn his country had no formal architecture schools, so he relocated to Shanghai, taught himself Mandarin, and put himself through a program there. Now, as part of MASS Studio, he has returned to Rwanda, where he designs social infrastructure with a "lo-fab" approach, using local designers and materials to swell the economy. "Who builds something is just as important as how it's built," he noted.
Jaime Hayon, Hayon Studio

Spain's Jaime Hayon explored how, even after countless big-name collaborations, he continues to find fresh ways to make high-design fun. "When you think you know it all, the best place is to start from zero again," said Hayon, who then shared the unusual inspiration behind some of his most famous pieces. His Ro chair for Fritz Hansen was inspired by penguins and his Milá chair for Magis is meant to evoke a pineapple.
Exterior of the backyard studio Riley McFerrin of Hinterland Design built for his client, a children's book illustrator.
Architect William Carpenter, glimpsed in his second-floor design studio, built Lightroom 2.0 to sit unobtrusively among its 1920s neighbors in Decatur.
Heatherwick Studio’s latest high-visibility designs on view at the Hammer installation will include the 2012 redesign of London’s double decker buses, known as the New Routemaster.
The Rolling Bridge at Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin, London, opens using a series of hydraulic rams integrated into the balustrade.
Heatherwick Studio's UK Pavilion, Shanghai World Expo, Shanghai, 2007–2010. The exhibition runs through May 24.