Dezeen Magazine

Serpentine Galleries premieres Back to Earth podcast exploring ecological design at Virtual Design Festival

Today's VDF collaboration with London's Serpentine Galleries kicks off with an exclusive premiere of its latest podcast, which features artists and designers Formafantasma, Dunne & Raby and Black Quantum Futurism, ahead of a live talk exploring the political and ecological impact of materials.

Titled Back to Earth: Tracing the Roots, the latest Serpentine Galleries podcast episode is co-hosted by artist Victoria Sin and Rebecca Lewin, curator of exhibitions and design at the Serpentine Galleries.

The pair are joined by London design studio Dunne & Raby, artistic collective Black Quantum Futurism and Italian design duo Formafantasma, who curated the current Cambio exhibition (pictured top) at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cambio by Formafantasma at Serpentine Galleries
Cambio exhibition by Formafantasma at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery

The podcast explores what design looks like when it begins from a position of ecological responsibility and what it means to design with and for the non-human.

In the episode, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma discuss their Cambio exhibition and the ways in which the project will be intertwined with the course they are initiating at the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2020.

Dunne & Raby co-founders Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby talk about their relationship to speculative design, the importance of teaching in their practice as designers and the role of museums to communicate radical design thinking.

The episode also features Black Quantum Futurism's soundscape Temporal Technologies, part of a series of sonic investigations by the collective, which brings together different technologies to consider what can prompt shifts in perspective.

VDF x Serpentine Galleries

The podcast premiere is the first part of today's collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries for Virtual Design Festival exploring ecological design.

Later today, curator Lewin will host a live talk with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew researcher Caroline Cornish and Ma-tt-er founder Seetal Solanki about the ways in which histories, politics and ecologies are embedded in materials.

Watch the talk from 11:00am UK time at

The podcast and talk form part of the Serpentine Galleries ongoing Back to Earth initiative, which invites leading artists, architects, poets, filmmakers, scientists, thinkers and designers, to devise artist-led campaigns, protocols and initiatives responding to the environmental crisis.

About Virtual Design Festival

Virtual Design Festival runs from 15 April to 10 July 2020 and is sponsored by bathroom and kitchen manufacturer Grohe. It brings the architecture and design world together to celebrate the culture and commerce of our industry, and explore how it can adapt and respond to extraordinary circumstances.

To find out what's coming up at VDF, check out the schedule. For more information or to join the mailing list, email [email protected].