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green design, eco design, sustainable design, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, South Kensington, Heatherwick Studio, Thomas Heatherwick, Cromwell Road, Designing the Extraordinary, recycled traffic cones, S3i, recycled sculpture

Heatherwick Studio’s arched traffic cone canopy hangs like a chandelier, adorning the ornate Victorian stone façade of the South Kensington Museum. The site-specific installation was designed in conjunction with UK-based stainless steel solutions group S3i.  S31’s oxidized steel frame holds the strings of stainless steel wire rope which support the structure, creating a curvilinear field of hanging cones. With each corner held taut, the canopy dips in the center, like architectural hanging chain models.

Protruding toward the ground and fanning in every direction, the traffic cones are transformed from their utilitarian purpose into plastic stalactites. Instead of safety orange, Heatherwick painted the 208 cones white. Retaining one safety detail, each cone is wrapped with a reflective band that glistens in the sunlight. The installation casts a mosaic of diamond shadows on the ground and against the museum’s grand entrance.

With the simple yet eye catching installation, Heatherwick takes a common object out of its usual environment, removing it from its utilitarian context and exploring new possibilities for the object’s design. “Designing the Extraordinary” is a special exhibition on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum until September 30th.

+ Victoria & Albert Museum

+ Heatherwick Studio

Images by Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat