Have you tried out the new style London Routemaster Buses? Having caught the Number 19 to work from Battersea to Tottenham Court Road for many years, I’d grown to love the old Routemasters with all their quirks and history. So when the new designs by Thomas Heatherwick, were launched in 2012, although impressive-looking I wrongly assumed they would seem somewhat sterile in comparison. But I was wrong.
What a pleasure to travel in. The windows form two ribbons of glass that gracefully wrap around the bus. The new model has an extra staircase and three doors, and crucially is a lightweight hybrid vehicle, powered by electricity and diesel. The ‘hop on hop off’ open platform has also made a return (hooray). The best of old and new combined!
Last year I was lucky to catch Heatherwick’s exhibition in New York, at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, which showed models and sketches as part of the working process.
For example, do you remember London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony with the impressive Olympic Cauldron which opened out to show all 204 copper torches, radiating like petals of a flower and symbolising peace? Each competing country was then presented with their own copper petal.
See some more of his awe-inspiring projects here, including London’s Rolling Snail Bridge, the Beach Cafe at Hastings and the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery at Laverstoke, near Salisbury.
Watch the YouTube video of Thomas Heatherwick on The Culture Show here…
…Or treat yourself to a handsome coffee table book, simply named ‘Making‘, published by Thames and Hudson.