Kunlé Adeyemi and Nelly Ben Hayoun feature in the first session of The World Around symposium

Our Virtual Design Festival collaboration with The World Around for Earth Day kicks off with a series of conversations with designers including Nelly Ben Hayoun and Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi.

The World Around's Earth Day 2020 symposium, which we are broadcasting today as part of Virtual Design Festival, features talks, presentations, films and essays by over twenty visionaries at the forefront of ecological design.

CLIMAVORE: On Tidal Zones by Cooking Sections
Cooking Section will present its Climavore installation on the Isle of Skye

Following a short introduction by The World Around curator Beatrice Galilee, the symposium starts with a conversation between Maite Borjbad, architecture and design curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, and architects Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe, who run London studio Cooking Sections.

The conversation covers the studio's work investigating the relationship between climate change, diet and industrial food production. This includes its Climavore installation on the Isle of Skye, which acts as a restaurant at low tide and an underwater oyster table when the tides rise.

Nelly Ben Hayoun speaks at The World Around
Nelly Ben Hayoun explores the future of education through the medium of Instagram filters

This is followed by a conversation between experience designer Ben Hayoun and Sepake Angiama, artistic director of the Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA), who discuss new ways of teaching and new spaces for learning via the medium of Instagram filters.

Galilee then speaks to Lagos architect Adeyemi about his research into communities that are living on the water (top image), and what architects should learn from the climate emergency and coronavirus pandemic.

Harriet Harriss and Timothy Morton discuss ethics frameworks

The first session of the symposium ends with a conversation between Harriet Harriss, dean of architecture at Pratt Institute, and Timothy Morton, a philosopher and author of books including HyperObjects, Dark Ecology and Ecology Without Nature.

The pair exchange ideas about ethics frameworks for operating in the world, touching on veganism, rethinking streams of capital and responsibility for social justice.

The World Around symposium takes place on the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970, which saw 20 million people in the USA demonstrate against the damage human activity causes the natural environment.

It is the second event organised by The World Around, a platform for architecture and design discussions founded last year by Galilee, Diego Marroquin and Alexandra Hodkowski. The online programme replaces a physical conference that The World Around was planning, which had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Around

This is the first of three sessions that make up the symposium, which is structured around three themes titled Rethink, Reimagine and Recreate. We will be continuing the stream the other sessions throughout the day on a dedicated page as part of Virtual Design Festival.

Starting at 4:00pm, the second part of the programme will include short films by Kalyanee Mam and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, as well as two discussions: curator Aric Chen will speak to designer Thomas Thwaites, while curator Mariana Pestana will be in conversation with architecture firm Studio Ossidiana.

These talks will be followed by an interview with collaborative architecture practice Design Earth conducted by curator and writer Carson Chan.

The third part of the event, which will be broadcast from 8:00pm, will feature talks by Facebook's vice president of product design Margaret Stewart, architect Cameron Sinclair, visual artist Amanda Williams, and landscape artist Walter Hood, as well as a conversation between curator Karen van Godtsenhoven and designer Mats Rombaut.

An exclusive screening of a new short film called The Transscalar Architecture of COVID-19 by Andrés Jaque and Ivan Munuera will close the symposium.

Here's the schedule for the day:


VDF x The World Around Earth Day 2020 symposium schedule

1:00pm Live interview with The World Around curator Beatrice Galilee

2:00pm Live broadcast of part one of the symposium, titled Rethink

  • Cooking Sections in conversation with Maite Borjabad
  • Nelly Ben Hayoun in conversation with Sepake Angiama
  • Kunlé Adeyemi in conversation with Beatrice Galilee
  • Harriet Harriss in conversation with Timothy Morton

4:00pm Live broadcast of part two of the symposium, titled Reimagine

  • Malika Leiper in conversation with Kalyanee Mam, plus film screening
  • Aric Chen in conversation with Thomas Thwaites
  • Mariana Pestana in conversation with Studio Ossidiana
  • Apichatpong Weerasethakul in conversation with Andrea Lissoni, plus film screening

6:00pm Design Earth interview by Carson Chan

7:00pm Earth Day illustrations by Mona Chalabi

8:00pm Live broadcast of part three of the symposium, titled Recreate

  • Cameron Sinclair talk
  • Amanda Williams talk
  • Karen van Godtsenhoven in conversation with Mats Rombaut
  • Margaret Stewart talk
  • Walter Hood talk

9:30pm Premiere of The Transscalar Architecture of COVID-19 short film by Andrés Jaque and Ivan Munuera

Biographies of all the speakers are available on The World Around's website.