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Design can be found in everything we touch, see and hear.

In the autumn of 2022, Sir John Soane’s Museum and Luke Irwin presented a third season of By Design, a public talk series in which leading designers discuss their practice, through the lens of a single object.

Each series of By Design invites internationally renowned designers to discuss their practice through a single object from Sir John Soane’s own extraordinary collection. Co-hosted by Will Gompertz, the Barbican Centre's Artistic Director, and Alice Rawsthorn, award-winning design critic and author, we reflect on the power of objects – large or small, mundane or exceptional, aesthetic or utilitarian – to spark new ideas and act as a spur for different forms of creativity.

Our 2022 season featured Cornelia Parker, Sophie Hicks, Martin Brudnizki, and Stephen Jones. Listen to their talks below.

Speakers for our first two seasons were Martino Gamper, David Adjaye, Es Devlin, Edmund de Waal, Olga Polizzi, Peter Saville, Ilse Crawford, Amanda Levete, Erdem Moralıoğlu, and Phyllida Barlow. Listen and watch our full archive of talks here.

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Listen to our 2022 speakers

Catch up on talks from previous seasons

Watch and listen to videos and podcasts of talks from the first two seasons of By Design.

Explore our archive