Thomas Heatherwick


When I met Thomas Heatherwick at his studio in Kings Cross, we discussed the colour scheme for ‘Maggie’s of Leeds’, a new cancer support building in the grounds of St. James Hospital. My job was to lazure paint the four counselling rooms and the adjoining foyers and bathrooms. The design element Thomas was most concerned with, was that the colour should transition from light at the top to strong at the bottom. But even with pale lazure towards the top of the walls, three or four glazes are needed to bring some movement and depth. And as the colour strengthens downwards, I measured the height for each layer and balanced the strength of colour to ensure the transitions were seamless and uniform around the room. The hand applied brush work of lazure painting brings a very human quality to the environment, it is a subtle artistry in which we are not locked in by the walls and breathe more easily. And those with a sensitivity to colour, enjoy the various nuances as it interplays with natural light…

Lazure painting is difficult to capture on a photo because it is translucent but these two images give an indication of the end result.

On a personal note, it was nice to be discovered by a world famous, multi-award winning design studio –

Counselling room

lz1 (1)


A Furtive Glance

when the day comes
the world wide web
will groan into life,
a parasitic force,
huge and monstrous,
of sub nature
between rock and plant

looking back in history
we only see ourselves,
yet a furtive glance
at the days to come
sees beckoning hands
for our sharpest swords
and all the love
we can muster.


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

“Poverty is not caused by men and women getting married; it’s not caused by machinery; it’s not caused by “over-production”; it’s not caused by drink or laziness; and it’s not caused by “over-population”. It’s caused by Private Monopoly. That is the present system. They have monopolized everything that it is possible to monopolize; they have got the whole earth, the minerals in the earth and the streams that water the earth. The only reason they have not monopolized the daylight and the air is that it is not possible to do it. If it were possible to construct huge gasometers and to draw together and compress within them the whole of the atmosphere, it would have been done long ago, and we should have been compelled to work for them in order to get money to buy air to breathe. And if that seemingly impossible thing were accomplished tomorrow, you would see thousands of people dying for want of air – or of the money to buy it – even as now thousands are dying for want of the other necessities of life. You would see people going about gasping for breath, and telling each other that the likes of them could not expect to have air to breathe unless they had the money to pay for it. Most of you here, for instance, would think and say so. Even as you think at present that it’s right for so few people to own the Earth, the Minerals and the Water, which are all just as necessary as is the air. In exactly the same spirit as you now say: “It’s Their Land,” “It’s Their Water,” “It’s Their Coal,” “It’s Their Iron,” so you would say “It’s Their Air,” “These are their gasometers, and what right have the likes of us to expect them to allow us to breathe for nothing?” And even while he is doing this the air monopolist will be preaching sermons on the Brotherhood of Man; he will be dispensing advice on “Christian Duty” in the Sunday magazines; he will give utterance to numerous more or less moral maxims for the guidance of the young. And meantime, all around, people will be dying for want of some of the air that he will have bottled up in his gasometers. And when you are all dragging out a miserable existence, gasping for breath or dying for want of air, if one of your number suggests smashing a hole in the side of one of the gasometers, you will all fall upon him in the name of law and order, and after doing your best to tear him limb from limb, you’ll drag him, covered with blood, in triumph to the nearest Police Station and deliver him up to “justice” in the hope of being given a few half-pounds of air for your trouble.”

Robert Tressell (1870 – 1911)

Mystery Drama

The Goetheanum

For twelve weeks,
twelve long weeks Maria,
I dripped with sweat
beneath the colours
of world evolution
on this stage of
utter loneliness,
we the stage hands
(bühnen helfers)
scurried like church
mice at the altar
of your becoming,
you never spoke to me,
but memory will never
let you go, having seen
your art, your mastery,
when from the wings,
in hushed shadows
I watched you,
as if you softly breathed
another soul into you,
my body shivered in awe,
seeing you become
someone else.