Radical design: Creatives at the frontline for change

Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.’ I grew up surrounded by politics. Raised in Iran at the height of its turbulent years, it was impossible not to be. Later, as an adolescent cocooned in the sanctuary of Europe, I rejected it all for I saw my life in the creative world where politics, seemingly, had... Read More

Can cultural spaces and galleries be landscapes of ideas?

I have strong views on the vital role of the visual arts and culture to help shape society and vice versa. My thoughts are that a degree of social engagement is necessary, especially in these volatile times. Without which these are just decoration, an ego massage, or worse strictly commercial enterprises. This applies as much to architecture and design as it does to the fine... Read More

The young, spirited voices changing darkness into light

This weekend over 600 cities around the world took to the streets to protest against the aggressively nationalist and populist politics that has found its voice so explicitly in Donald Trump and his blatantly deluded supporters. Organised to coincide with his first day as US president, the Women’s March has got to be one of the most spontaneous and spirited demonstrations... Read More

2016: Dark politics, sad losses, creative moments

It certainly has been an eventful year. The more liberal minded of us have been shaken by recent politics – by the rise of populism and support for fascist leaders around the world. This has been a year when research and fact checking, intellectual debate, clear thought, the truth have been brushed aside, ridiculed even, to be replaced by pure fiction. It’s been a year when... Read More

The new Design Museum opens in Kensington

‘Design is about optimism,’ offers sir Terence Conran, ‘and this friendly space is full of surprises. It is about love rather than fear. I hope we can educate and inspire generations to come,’ says the founder of the Design Museum. Heartfelt words in these politically dark times. We are being treated to a preview of the museum’s much anticipated new premise in Kensington,... Read More

Highlights of 2016 London Design Festival

Urban life requires a little creative navigation. We benefit from the vibrancy of the city, and experience its diverse communities. Yet city living is noisy – physically, emotionally, mentally it can be a chaotic cocktail at times. Added to this, with many of us working away from the office desk, our work/life patterns have evolved to be so much less linear than they used... Read More

London Design Biennale debuts with ‘Utopia By Design’

I’m sitting in the magnificent Somerset House courtyard overlooking Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s towering navy sculpture that moves ever-so-slowly to the nudge of the September wind. Forecast explores Britain’s rich maritime history and its involvement with the development of wind energy. Created by the local designer duo with the help of the V&A Museum and engineering... Read More

London celebrates design & ideology with new biennale

London is in the midst of quite a creative moment. The Design Museum is soon to open in the £83m conversion of the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, and the V&A has announced plans for a second museum of visual culture in east London’s Olympicopolis at the south end of the Olympic Park where there will also be a Sadler’s Wells and Washington DC’s Smithsonian... Read More

Highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016

London is alive with creative energy and it is sometimes hard to keep up with the sheer volume of exhibitions and fairs celebrating visual culture. This week saw Clerkenwell Design Week celebrate its seventh year. The three-day event in May sees international brands, individual designers, and emerging young artists exhibit their latest creations in one of London’s oldest... Read More

Good design, better society

Navigating the streets of London these days can leave a blue note. This beautiful city has in the last few years transformed into a giant construction site – cranes occupying the skyline like arrogant robots. Central London, in particular, is a messy sight. In the years following the Second World War, a similar scale of construction saw buildings designed and erected... Read More