Beijing is planning to add 125 miles to its underground rail network – and the city just appointed Thomas Heatherwick to design at least two brand new stations. If all goes well, the British designer could go on to design up to 20 stations, which is the equivalent of an entire metro line. Heatherwick is currently traveling with London Mayor Boris Johnson on a trade mission to China, and has still managed to find the time to bid for the development of two new stations on the London Underground.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Thomas Heatherwick explained how he would approach the design process for the Chinese capital’s new stations: “There will be a chance to think about the whole line as an entity, as a character and my interest would be how you could make that feel more distinctively Beijing,”
Heatherwick is no stranger to design in China, having worked on the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, as well as a shopping centre in Hong Kong. In what could be considered an exchange of talent, Boris Johnson urged Chinese students to apply to London design schools earlier in the trade mission.
As for the London Underground, the designer has already made an informal bid to work on the extension of the Northern Line, which if approved would see new stations constructed in Nine Elms and Battersea. Even though it’s likely to be years before any official bids are accepted, Heatherwick has a history of working on iconic projects around the city of London. One of his most notable examples was when he was commissioned by Transport For London to redesign the city’s red double-decker buses.