By Design is a free online talk series hosted by Sir John Soane’s Museum in partnership with Luke Irwin. Inspired by Soane’s own extraordinary collection, internationally renowned designers from across the world of design discuss their practice through a single object. In this talk, Will Gompertz speaks with architect Amanda Levete.

About the Speakers

Amanda Levete

Amanda Levete CBE is a Stirling Prize winning architect and founder and principal of AL_A, an international award-winning design and architecture studio. Recently completed projects include the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter (2017) in London; MAAT (2016) a Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, commissioned by EDP; Central Embassy (2017), a 1.5 million sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok; a media campus and headquarters building for Sky (2016) in London. Ongoing commissions include the transformation of the flagship Galleries Lafayette Haussmann department store in Paris; a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton; two new buildings for Wadham College at the University of Oxford; the renovation and expansion of Paisley Museum in Scotland; and the Monte St Angelo subway station in Naples.

She is a regular radio and TV broadcaster, writes for a number of publications and lectures throughout the world. In 2017 Levete was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list and made a CBE for services to architecture. In 2018 she was awarded the Jane Drew Prize and in 2019 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Will Gompertz

Will Gompertz is the newly-appointed Director of Arts and Learning at the Barbican. Previously he was the BBC’s first Arts Editor between 2009 and 2021. As well as regularly reporting on the arts for the main BBC News bulletins, Today Programme and numerous other outlets, Will hosted his own radio show on BBC 5-Live, and has written and presented numerous primetime series for television and radio.

Before joining the BBC, Will spent 7 years as a Director at the Tate Galleries where he was responsible for its BAFTA-winning website and the UK's first Performance Art festival.

In 2012 Will wrote What Are You Looking At?, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on modern art, published by Penguin and subsequently translated into 20 languages. Will's second book, Think Like an Artist, is about creativity and was published by Penguin in 2015. It has been translated into 18 different languages.

Will is a respected and well-known commentator on the arts, and has written for The Times, The Guardian, and Vanity Fair among many others.

Back to By Design: Season Two


In partnership with