Studio’s revenue more than doubled following string of new jobs and schemes restarted after the pandemic 

0. Azabudai Hills_HERO IMAGE_CREDIT_Raquel Diniz

Heatherwick Studio’s recently completed Azabudai Hills project in Tokyo.

Thomas Heatherwick has paid himself a £1.1m dividend following a boom year at his practice Heatherwick Studio which saw its profits increase more than fivefold.

The firm reported pre-tax profit of £17.6m for the year to 31 March 2023, up from just £3.2m in the preceding 12 months, while revenue during the period more than doubled from £24m to nearly £50m.

Heatherwick’s £1.13m payout for 2023 was more than three times the amount he received in 2022, when he paid himself dividends of £370,000.

The studio’s net profit margin more than doubled to some 31% compared to 12% in the prior year. It said the results reflected newly secured projects and the recommencement of schemes that had been put on hold during the covid pandemic.

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Thomas Heatherwick outside the studio’s new office in King’s Cross, standing in front of the logo for his Humanise campaign.

They were driven by huge growth in its income from the Middle East, where turnover increased by more than 10,000% from £122,000 in 2022 to £13.1m in 2023.

Work in the United States also ballooned in the year from £3.5m to £14.4m, while revenue in Asia jumped from £13.5m to £16.1m, although income in the studio’s smaller markets in the UK and Europe halved in the same period.

Major ongoing projects for the firm include Google’s new UK headquarters at King’s Cross, close to where the studio opened its new office at 55 Argyle Street.

The firm also opened its first base in Shanghai, China, within the Heatherwick-designed 1000 Trees development and launched an exhibition in Tokyo, Japan, called “Building Soulfulness” which it plans to take on tour across East Asia.

> Also read: ‘Who are we designing for?’ Thomas Heatherwick wonders why buildings have become so boring

The practice has completed a string of high profile projects in the region in recent months, including the Azabudai Hills district in Tokyo, and unveiled designs for a shopping quarter in Xi’an, China, and an exhibition centre in Shanghai.

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Heatherwick’s shopping quarter in Xi’an, China.

But it missed out on a major commission for the design of the Shenzhen headquarters for Tencent, the biggest company in China. Heatherwick was among a star list of practices including Foster & Partners, Herzog & de Meuron and Zaha Hadid which submitted proposals for the job, which was handed to Ole Scheeren.

The accounts came ahead of a period of greater public visibility for Heatherwick himself, following the designer’s publication of his book Humanise and his BBC podcast, Building Soul. 

Humanise, published in October last year, was a manifesto of sorts for Heatherwick, outlining his design philosophy and his campaign to make buildings less “boring”.