Important update

Unfortunately, due to illness, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel Farshid's talk. All tickets purchased to date will be refunded with our apologies.

By Design, a talk series at Sir John Soane’s Museum, in partnership with Luke Irwin, is back for its fourth season. Internationally renowned designers are invited to discuss their practice through a single object from the Museum. In this talk, Alice Rawsthorn talks to architect Farshid Moussavi.

Inspired by Sir John Soane’s own extraordinary collection, and co-hosted by Will Gompertz, Director of Arts and Learning at the Barbican, and Alice Rawsthorn, award-winning design critic and author, the series reflects 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. 

The talk will take place in the Museum's Library Dining Room. Doors will open at 6:30pm, with a chance to explore the museum by candlelight. The talk runs from 7pm to 8pm, followed by a drinks reception in the South Drawing Room.

About the speakers

Farshid Moussavi OBE RA is an internationally acclaimed architect and Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she trained. Prior to founding FMA, her London-based practice, she was co-founder of Foreign Office Architects (FOA). She has published, in conjunction with Harvard University, an influential series of books: The Function of Ornament (2006), The Function of Form (2009), and The Function of Style (2014). Her most recent book, Architecture and Micropolitics, which features four buildings by FMA, was published in October 2022. Farshid Moussavi was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2015, and appointed Professor of Architecture in the RA Schools in 2017. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2018 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to architecture. She was the chair of the Master Jury of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2004, and a member of its steering committee between 2005 and 2015. She has served as a trustee of several organizations, including the Whitechapel Gallery and The Architecture Foundation in London between 2009 and 2018, and, since 2018, the Norman Foster Foundation and New Architecture Writers (NAW), which focuses on black and minority ethnic emerging writers who are under-represented in design journalism and curation. In 2022, She was appointed by The Mayor of London, as one of The Mayor of London’s Design Advocates.


Alice Rawsthorn is an award-winning design critic and author, whose books include Design as an AttitudeHello World: Where Design Meets Life and, most recently, Design Emergency: Building a Better Future, co-written with Paola Antonelli, senior curator of design at MoMA, New York. Alice’s weekly design column for The New York Times was syndicated worldwide for over a decade. In all her work, Alice champions design’s potential as a social, political and ecological tool. Born in Manchester and based in London, she is a founding member of the Writers for Liberty campaign for human rights and of the advisory boards of DemocracyNext and the OECD’s Future of Democracy Network. Alice and Paola are co-founders of Design Emergency, a research platform and podcast that investigates design’s role in forging a fairer future.

Picture credits: Farshid Moussavi by Paul Phung/Alice Rawsthorn by Michael Leckie

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