The WOW Factor.
The relationship started with his designing a handbag for Longchamp. This led to a commission to create a staircase for their downtown New York store and that inevitably evolved into a full-scale redesign.
The handbag features a long snaking zip. The staircase is a 55 ton steel hillside designed "to pull people up into the store... From the street, all you see is this mountain of steel, and then whoosh up you go. We wanted it to feel like an adventure." The store is now open and New Yorkers and visitors can go down to Greene and Spring and see why I name-checkedThomas Heatherwick before.
Philippe Cassegrain, the enlightened client could not help but invoke The WOW factor, but Heatherwick like me hates that phrase. I see WOW factors as initial showboating that might lack depth. He prefers to talk about creating "challenging environments". I could rave about him for ages, but I'll let him do the talking. Because design is not just applicable to physical things, but also processes and cultures, his is a philosophy that should be applied to every aspect of your business.
"I've never been interested in buildings that you only understand once you've heard the architect give a lecture," says he. "I want to design projects that make sense to 6-year-olds as well as professors. People have an instinctive intelligence about design and always spot nonsense"