a tale of a few cities

Thomas Heatherwick

Posted in Art, design by petercombe on October 7, 2009

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Thomas Heatherwick presents the world’s first single component of metal furniture, extruded by machine, in a new display in the Senate Room at Haunch of Venison Gallery>, London, UK.

The exhibition, Extrusions, includes six extruded, mirror polished, aluminium benches made without fixtures or fittings, which have been produced by the world’s largest extrusion machine. Heatherwick Studio commissioned a specially designed die through which aluminium was ‘squeezed’ into a chair profile, complete with legs, seat and back. The resulting extrusions are produced from one billet of aluminium. A billet is a large ‘plug’ of aluminium which is heated up and pushed through a die. The aluminium emerges in a raw unpolished finish which is then cut and sometimes shaped; each cut piece of bench then undergoes 300 hours of polishing. If pieces of the extrusion are not used they are melted down and made into further billets.

Heatherwick wants to continue to make new work with this die and is exploring a long held dream to create a 100-metre long bench. A billet weighs 830 kilos. In this new making process Heatherwick has commited to producing a body of work that will total no more than 200 metres in length.

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