Talking Interiors Lecture Series

Following on from the huge success of the 2013/14 series, the Interior Design department at the RCA has confirmed the Talking Interiors public lecture programme for 2014/15.

Talking Interiors 2014/15 will feature international architects, designers, curators and writers who will discuss their own practice and dissect the role of interior design. Forthcoming speakers include Andrew Stevens from London-based design consultancy Graphic Thought Facility; French industrial designer matali crasset; Roberto Feo of post-disciplinary studio El Ultimo Grito; the director of London’s Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic; Alannah Western, former Creative Director of Selfridges and now Deputy Chairman of Selfridges Group; the leading British interior designer Ben Kelly; the visionary architect and designer Gaetano Pesce; the Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art Paolo Antonelli; Christophe Egret of architecture and urban design practice Studio Egret West; the renowned sculptor Richard Wentworth; and the architect David Chipperfield.

Head of the Interior Design programme, Ab Rogers says: 'This is our third year of Talking Interiors, and we are excited to invite both highly influential designers and architects to the college, as well as those who are clients of design, curators, and graphic designers who operate in the worlds of retail and culture.'

Talks take place in Lecture Theatre 1, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU at 6.30pm (except for the Deyan Sudjic lecture on December 17th which will start at 6m). Places are free but need to be booked in advance by emailing:

Recorded Talking Interiors talks from previous series can be viewed at RCA Talks

Talking Interiors 2014/15

19 November 2014: Andy Stevens
Andrew Stevens graduated from the RCA in 1990 and is a founder member of Graphic Thought Facility, a London-based design consultancy with international clients. GTF collaborate extensively with designers from other disciplines with recent commissions including brand identity and store environments for M&S, exhibition design for the Science Museum, Design Museum and Royal Academy of Art in London, publications for the Gagosian Gallery, way-finding for VitraHaus, campaigns for Kvadrat and packaging for Herman Miller and Royal Doulton. GTF is jointly owned and led by three directors: Huw Morgan, Paul Neale and Andrew Stevens. Places for this talk can be booked here.
3 December 2014: matali crasset

matali crasset trained as an industrial designer at the Ateliers – E.N.S.C.I. She established her own studio in Paris in 2000, after working with Denis Santachiara in Italy and with Philippe Starck in France. crasset considers design to be research, working from an off-centred position allowing to both serve daily routines and trace future scenarios. Balancing a knowledgeable and a naive view of the world, she questions the obviousness of codes so as to facilitate her breaking these bonds. Her work revolves around searching for new coordination processes and formulating new logics in life. She defines this search as an accompaniment towards the contemporary. Places for this talk can be booked here.

 10 December 2014: Roberto Feo

Roberto Feo and Rosario Hurtado are founders of the post-disciplinary studio El Ultimo Grito. El Ultimo Grito’s work continuously researches their relationships with objects and culture. The studio’s output is across a multitude of platforms for a range of international clients, museums and organizations including Magis, Lavazza, Matadero Madrid, Marks & Spencer, Figueras, UNO, LABORAL, Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, British Airways, Claudio Buziol Foundation, the Sorrell Foundation and Victoria & Albert Museum. Their work is in the permanent collections of MoMA in New York, Stedelijk in Amsterdam and the V&A in London. Roberto Feo was born in London in 1964 but grew up in Madrid, Spain. He studied Furniture Design at the London College of Furniture followed by an MA in Furniture Design at The Royal College of Art. He currently co-runs the Space and Communication at HEAD-Genève. Places for this talk can be booked here.

17 December 2014: Deyan Sudjic OBE

Deyan Sudjic is Director of the Design Museum in London. His career has spanned journalism, teaching and writing. Sudjic was director of Glasgow UK City of Architecture 1999 and in 2002 he was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale. He was Editor of Domus Magazine from 2000 to 2004, and was Founding Editor of Blueprint Magazine from 1983 to 1996.  Sudjic has published many books on design and architecture, including The Edifice Complex (Penguin, 2006), The Language of Things (Penguin, 2008), Norman Foster: A Life in Architecture (Orion, 2010) and Shiro Kuramata (Phaidon, 2013). His most recent book, B is for Bauhaus, was published by Penguin in March 2014.  He was made an OBE in 2000. Places for the talk can be booked here.

21 January 2015: Christophe Egret
Egret studied at the Architectural Association, London, where he gained his architectural diploma in 1986. He worked in practices which included Foster and Partners, Ian Ritchie, Troughton McAslan, Branson Coates and Ron Arad Architects before joining Alsop and Stormer in 1995, where he worked for 10 years as a director, managing, amongst others, the Peckham Library (winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2000), the Blizzard Building for the Queen Mary Research laboratory in Whitechapel and the Manchester Millennium Village framework plan. In 2004, Christophe established the architectural, landscape and urban design practice, Studio Egret West, with urban designer partner David West to offer an ethos of ‘strategy with architectural specificity; and specificity within an overall strategy’. He frequently lectures at universities both nationally and internationally and sits on member advisory boards including CABE and the RIBA Trust.

28 January 2015: Alannah Western

Alannah Western was creative director of British department store chain Selfridges from 2004–2014, and is now deputy chairman of Selfridges Group. She is credited with reinvigorating the store with Selfridges being voted the ‘World’s Best Department Store’ by the International Association of Department stores, twice in the last three years. Her creative directorship has redefined Selfridges’ role in London’s retail landscape, ushering in an increase in sales of over 50 percent. Entertainment, interaction and spectacle are very much part of her vision. 'People now have so much choice – sports events, museums, theatres, these are all our competition. They want intellectual, cultural and, yes, spiritual nourishment. They don’t just want to buy things.'

4 February 2015: Ben Kelly: International Orange – WhenAttitudes Become Form
Ben Kelly graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1974. He established Ben Kelly Design (BKD) in 1977, a leading Interior Design practice based in Borough Market, London. BKD’s groundbreaking projects range from exhibitions for the V&A, Design Museum, Crafts Council, Wellcome Trust, British Council, and The Architecture Foundation, to the innovative London-based fitness club chain Gymbox, and Factory Record’s The Hacienda in Manchester, to permanent museum interiors for The Science Museum. In November 2007 Kelly was awarded the title Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) and was on the RDI Executive Committee between 2010-11. He was Creative Director of The Architecture Foundation 2000–1 and was granted an Honorary Doctor of Design from Kingston University in 1998.  As an artist he has shown at The Mackintosh Gallery, Glasgow School of Art (2010), The Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston and the Southbank Centre.
TBC: Gaetano Pesce 

Gaetano Pesce was born in La Spezia in 1939. He studied Architecture at the University of Venice. He has since worked worldwide as an architect and a designer for companies such as B&B Italia, Vitra and Cassina. His most famous building is the Organic Building in Osaka. He has lived in New York since 1980, and has been a guest professor in institutions such as the Cooper Union in New York and the Institut d'Architecture et d'Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg. Some of his designs have been included in the collections of the MoMA and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He is known for experimenting with new materials with resin emerging as his signature.

TBC: Paolo Antonelli

After studying architecture Paolo Antonelli joined the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1994. She is Senior Curator of the gallery's Architecture and Design department and, as of 2012, the museum's first ever director of research and development. Antonelli has worked on shows such as Humble Masterpieces, which celebrated traditionally unheralded design icons such as the paperclip; Design and the Elastic Mind, considering the relationship of design and technology, and Talk to Me, which looked at design and the communication of people and objects. She has been a contributing editor for Domus magazine (1987–91) and the design editor of Abitare magazine (1992–94). She has also contributed articles to several publications, among them Metropolis, the Harvard Design Review, ID magazine, Paper, Metropolitan Home, Harper's Bazaar, and Nest.

TBC: Richard Wentworth

Richard Wentworth has played a leading role in New British Sculpture since the end of the 1970s. His work, encircling the notion of objects and their use as part of our day-to-day experiences, has altered the traditional definition of sculpture as well as photography. By transforming and manipulating industrial and/or found objects into works of art, Wentworth subverts their original function and extends our understanding of them by breaking the conventional system of classification. Major solo presentations include Black Maria with Gruppe, Kings Cross (2013), Whitechapel Gallery (2010); 52nd Venice Biennale (2009); Tate Liverpool (2005); Artangel (2002); Bonner Kunstverein (1998); Stedelijk Museum (1994); Serpentine Gallery (1993).

TBC: David Chipperfield CBE, RA, RDI, RIBA

David Chipperfield established David Chipperfield Architects in 1985. He has taught at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart from 1995 to 2001 and at Yale University in 2011. In 2012 David Chipperfield curated the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Chipperfield designs buildings that are striking but subtle; a seamless blend of old and new. Notable commissions include The River and Rowing Museum, Henley-on-Thames, Figge Art Museum, Iowa and Neues Museum, Berlin. 

Talking Interiors 2013/14

16 October 2013: Annabelle Selldorf: Imagination and function

Annabelle Selldorf is the Principal of New York-based practice Selldorf Architects which she established in 1988. Born in Germany, she studied architecture at the Pratt Institute and Syracuse. She has become known for her stealthy interior remodellings that create the perfect art gallery within existing buildings and recently finished a new building for gallerist David Zwirner in Chelsea with 30,000 sq ft of internal space. Selldorf has built several new apartment blocks in New York, including one where residents drive into the building right up to their own front door, and this year completed a recycling plant outside the city. “Architecture,” she says, “is about proportion, light and structure first, and then about materials.”

7 November 2013: William Russell: The mastery of collaboration

William Russell studied architecture and upon graduation from the RCA, he set up practice with David Adjaye before establishing William Russell Architecture & Design in 2000. In 2005 he joined Pentagram's London office as a partner, heading up the design agency’s interior design division. His clients range from Alexander McQueen to H&M, and the Tate Gallery to Krug champagne. His numerous residential projects include those for clients such as Ewan MacGregor and the artist Chris Ofili. With Daniel Weil, he has created the first augmented-reality theatre in the world inside London’s Natural History Museum. Working within a multi-disciplinary design studio, Russell is a master of collaboration.

14 November 2013: Luis Laplace: Where the art is

Luis Laplace is the founder of Laplace & Co, an architecture and design studio based in Paris. His work frequently engages directly with the art world, whether it is creating the interior of a Paris apartment for Cindy Sherman, incorporating a unique film piece by Pipilotti Rist into the design of a swimming pool at a villa in the South of France or a full-size Louise Bourgeois Maman (spider) into a drawing room. Laplace, who is Argentinian, studied in Buenos Aires before spending 5 years in New York. He moved to Paris 10 years ago. Currently, he is converting a model farm in Somerset – a series of buildings dating from 1760 – into gallery spaces for the London-based Swiss art gallerists Hauser + Wirth.

21 November 2013: Jamie Fobert

Fobert was born in Canada and trained at the University of Toronto. He worked for David Chipperfield Architects from 1988 to 1996 and left to set up his own practice based in London. The practice has a reputation for innovative architectural design in the residential, retail and art sectors. Major projects include Tate St Ives, Kettle’s Yard Gallery and the Charleston Trust.

28 November 2013: Ben van Berkel: On a sliding scale

The Dutch architect Ben van Berkel founded UNStudio in 1988 with Caroline Bos. The studio is wide-ranging in its concerns, covering architecture, urban development and infrastructural projects, and van Berkel is as broad in his inspiration, citing everything from the humorous writings of David Sedaris and PG Wodehouse to the moon landings and the Katsura Palace in Japan. Buildings include the highly-awarded Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, as well as the Music Theatre in Graz and the dazzling Galleria department store in Seoul. But van Berkel is an enthusiastic advocate of the pavilion: 'They afford the possibility to experiment with human scale, with proportions directly connected to the human body, but in a structure that is not yet a building.'

23 January 2014: Marcus Fairs: What works in the media

A furniture design graduate, Marcus Fairs began his journalism career writing for publications including Blueprint, The Guardian and Conde Nast Traveller. In 2003 he launched Icon, the international architecture and design magazine, and most importantly he founded the Dezeen website in 2006, which he currently co-directs. Dezeen, an all-embracing look at the design world that is updated at break-neck speed, was the first of its kind and still ranks among the very best. Fairs is a regular contributor to radio, TV, and conferences, the author of several design books and the best person to tell designers how to work the media. 

30 January 2014: Mark Dytham MBE

RCA graduate Mark Dytham is director at Klein Dytham architecture (KDa), one of Japan’s most exciting design firms. With his partner Astrid Klein, Dytham works freely across design disciplines including architecture, interiors, furniture, installations and events. KDa’s output reflects the energy and freshness that Mark and Astrid find in Tokyo. Their client list includes Google, Sony, Virgin Atlantic, Nike, Uniqlo and Vertu. Recent projects include the award-winning Tsutaya bookstore in Japan, winning the Design for Asia Grand Prize 2012 and the 'World’s Best Shopping Center' award at the World Architectural Festival 2012. Mark is also a co-founder of SuperDeluxe, a creative art space in the centre of Tokyo, and the birth place of PechaKucha, and is a frequent guest speaker at international design events. He was awarded an MBE in 2000 for services to British design in Japan.

27 February 2014: - Konstantin Grcic: The decisive designer

Konstantin Grcic, the Munich-based industrial designer who studied at the Royal College of Art, is one of the most feted of his generation. He works with design world’s top producers – including Magis in Italy, Vitra in Switzerland, BD Ediciones in Spain and Emeco in the USA – to create fresh products which respond to new needs or materials. While Grcic’s best known products embrace the notions of functionalism and clarity to accommodate production on a mass scale, his limited edition work is exceptional in its depth of design enquiry. Grcic is a designer who’s unafraid to work within defined limits: 'Limitations and constraints can turn into positives', he says. 

6 March 2014: Morag Myerscough: She finds the way

Designer Morag Myerscough founded the award-winning Studio Myerscough in 1993. Morag Myerscough is one of the UK’s most prolific designers. Her work is characterized by an engaging boldness, creating specific, local responses to each distinct audience that will see and experience the design, using it to create community and build identity. Morag makes places from spaces that people like to be in, that stimulate and often make you smile. She creates and curates many different types of work. The eclectic breadth of work covers the conversion of a train to a café, installations, numerous exhibitions and interpreting buildings.

20 March 2014: Dinah Casson: Interpretation and other stories 

Dinah Casson is one of the world’s most respected environmental and exhibition designers. She has worked with Roger Mann for more than 30 years as Casson-Mann. Her work has transformed museums in the UK into modern and accessible places, including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Imperial War Museum: her ability is to translate narratives and ideas into readable, useable, pleasurable design experiences. Recent projects include the Benjamin Franklin Museum, Philadelphia and the exhibition Hollywood Costume at the V&A in London. Casson-Mann’s work has received numerous awards and in 2006, Casson was elected as a Royal Designer for Industry.

Talking Interiors 2012/13

8 November 2012: Ab Rogers

‘Emotional Spaces and Engaging Objects’ was the inaugural Talking Interiors lecture delivered by Ab Rogers, Head of the RCA Interior Design programme.
To celebrate the introduction of the new MA in Interior Design at the RCA, Ab Rogers delivered the first lecture in a major public series titled ‘Talking Interiors’, in which the role of the interior was dissected, evaluated and discussed.
Ab Rogers is also the Creative director of Ab Rogers Design, a multi-disciplinary practice based in London working across the commercial and cultural sectors, whose clients include Tate Modern, Pompidou Centre Paris, Capital Museum Beijing, Selfridges, Comme des Garcons, COMO Hotels and The Fat Duck.
‘Be it a hotel, museum, a café, a department store or hospital ward, we want to create imaginative yet practical solutions that improve the performance, experience and emotional quality that a space has to offer.’ – Ab Rogers

29 November 2012: Jason Bruges 

A pioneer in his field Jason Bruges and his studio produce innovative art installations, interventions and groundbreaking work.  Jason’s architectural training brings environmental awareness and technical skill to the direction of all his studio’s creative projects. He worked for Foster + Partners and Imagination before establishing his own studio. Jason’s vision, passion and desire to find groundbreaking creative solutions are clearly evident in all the studio’s work. Clients include: Coca-Cola, More4, Becks, Aston Martin, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, The Victoria & Albert Museum, BBC Radio 4, WWF, San Diego Airport, The Southbank Centre and Guinness.

7 February 2013: Petra Blaisse 

Blaisse started her career in the Department of Applied Arts at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. From 1987, she worked as freelance designer and won distinction for her installations of architectural work, in which the exhibited work was challenged more than displayed. Gradually her focus shifted to the use of textiles, light and finishes in interior space and, at the same time, to the design of gardens and landscapes.  In 1991, she founded Inside Outside studio which works in a multitude of creative areas, including textile, landscape and exhibition design.

21 February 2013: Edward Jones CBE 

Jones is a Director in London based practice Dixon Jones, architects to most notably the Royal Opera House, The National Portrait Gallery, the East Wing of the National Gallery, Saïd Business School Oxford, Quadrant 3, the recently completed Exhibition Road, and plans for Chelsea Barracks.  He was senior tutor at the Royal College of Art from 1973 to 1983. He has also taught extensively in North America, Ireland and Britain and the work of the practice has been widely published and exhibited.  His book ‘A Guide to the Architecture of London’ is in its fourth edition (with Christopher Woodward). In 2011 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), and was awarded a CBE.

28 Februray 2013: Richard Rogers         

Lord Rogers is a renowned, award-winning British architect. Rogers’ practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (formerly Richard Rogers Partnership) was founded in 1977 and has offices in London, Barcelona, Madrid, New York and Tokyo. It is best known for such pioneering buildings as the Centre Pompidou, the headquarters for Lloyd’s of London, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the Millennium Dome in London. Lord Rogers will be in conversation with his son, Ab Rogers, Head of the Interiors Design programme at the RCA. 

21 March 2013: John Small 

Small graduated from the Royal College of Art, then worked as a freelance designer in London, Milan and New York. He joined Foster + Partners in 1985 where he worked on numerous interiors projects and established the Industrial Design Department in 1995, working with a wide range of clients in diverse industries. In 2011 Small was appointed Director of Design for Steelcase EMEA.

11 April 2013: Eva Jiricna 

Czech born Jiřičná has run her own architectural and design practice in London for over 30 years, and is renowned for her crisp functionalist approach, attention to detail and dramatic manipulation of space. Her personal career break came when she met fashion designer Joseph Ettedgui, who invited her to design his first shop in South Molton Street, and which resulted in a series of commissions in the 1980s for luxury retail brands including Harrods and Hugo Boss, forging her reputation for the design of interiors and in particular Jiřičná’s signature feature, the staircase. Recently completed projects include the Jewellery Gallery at the V&A; Tomas Bata University Library and the Cultural Centre in Zlin, Czech Republic.                                               

2 May 2013: Fred Scott 

Scott is the author of On Altering Architecture, a book that aims to call into question established ideas and methods of architecture and interior design. It suggests an interior practice based on the interrogation of the context, to work with the everyday in flux with the ideal in an attempt to find elements of a theory of intervention. Scott has acted as visiting professor of Interior Architecture at Rhode Island School of Design and course leader for Interior Design at Kingston University.


9 May 2013: Talking Interiors with Penny Sparke                                                                 

Sparke is a Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Enterprise), Professor of Design History and the Director of The Modern Interiors Research Centre (MIRC) at Kingston University. She taught History of Design from 1972 to 1982 at Brighton Polytechnic and at the RCA from 1982 to 1999.  She has lectured widely, and published over a dozen books and numerous essays and articles, in the field of Design History over the last thirty years with an emphasis, since the mid 1990s, on the relationship between design, gender and the interior. Her books include As Long as It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste; An Introduction to Design and Culture – 1900 to the present and The Modern Interior.