Rarely does a piece of design elicit universal praise. ‘Betty’ – the 2012 Olympic cauldron – codenamed by the organisers in honour of the executive producer’s dog – has melted even the hardest of hearts. Containing 204 petals for each of the countries competing in London 2012, designer Thomas Heatherwick was apparently told that on no account should he use moving parts. Despite multiple moving parts his design was approved.

Although ‘Betty’ has now made Heatherwick a household name his portfolio includes other high profile designs pictured below.

The studio was commissioned to design a pedestrian bridge to span an inlet of the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin, London, and provide an access route for workers and residents. Crucially, the bridge needed to open to allow access for the boat moored in the inlet.

Heatherwick also designed the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton on the seafront in West Sussex. A cafe by day and restaurant by night, the building features a distinctive rippled wood effect.

The Wellcome Trust, a biomedical research charity, commissioned the studio to design a sculpture for the atrium of its new headquarters.


Some of his large-scale projects include the futuristic ‘Seed Cathedral’ UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, a 65ft high building constructed from 60,000 transparent optical strands, each of which had a seed embedded in its tip.


Pre- ‘Betty’ perhaps Heatherwick’s most recognised design was the new ‘Boris Bus’. After the Mayor of London rejected the ‘bendy-buses’ introduced by previous mayor Ken Livingstone, Heatherwick was asked to oversee a sleek update of the traditional and much loved Routemaster, incorporating the all important ‘hop-on hop-off’ service with an open platform at the back.


Design for bio mass powerstation on Teeside.