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A new talk series at Sir John Soane’s Museum, in partnership with Luke Irwin, in which leading figures from across the world of design discuss their practice through a single object. In our sixth and final talk in the series, Will Gompertz talks to Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels, Olga Polizzi.

In this new series, Sir John Soane’s Museum invites a range of practitioners from various design disciplines to select an object that has inspired them in some way, and through it discuss and dissect their own design practice. Inspired by Sir John Soane’s own extraordinary collection, and co-hosted by Will Gompertz, Arts Editor at the BBC, and Alice Rawsthorn, design writer and critic, the series will 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. Speakers include Peter Saville, Martino Gamper, David Adjaye, Es Devlin, Edmund de Waal and Olga Polizzi.

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Olga Polizzi is Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels and Deputy Chairman of the company. Since 1996, Polizzi has been working with Sir Rocco to build a new luxury hotel company, Rocco Forte Hotels. Her latest works for Rocco Forte Hotels include The Savoy Hotel in Florence, Villa Kennedy in Frankfurt, The Balmoral in Edinburgh and Brown’s Hotel in London. Prior to the creation of Rocco Forte Hotels, Polizzi was a Main Board Director and Director of Building and Design at Forte plc, a Westminster Councillor and Vice Chairman of Planning. Olga Polizzi is currently on the Council of Edward VII Hospital; Board of the Landau Forte Academies; Board of Fellowship & Honorary Degrees at King's College London; Chairman of The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation; Trustee of The Italian Medical Charity; Trustee of St. Mary’s School Ascot; Trustee Lord Forte Foundation.

Will Gompertz is the BBC's first Arts Editor, a senior journalistic role he took up in 2009. As well as regularly reporting on the arts for the main BBC News bulletins, Today Programme and numerous other outlets, Will hosts his own radio show on BBC 5-Live, and has written and presented numerous primetime series fir 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. Will is the author of What Are You Looking At?, 2012 and Think Like an Artist, 2015 and has written for the Times, Guardian, and Vanity Fair among many others.