Poet, playwright, performer and designer Inua Ellams is one of the most celebrated contemporary creators in the United Kingdom for the wide-ranging nature of his work. He is a Member of the Royal Society of Literature and an ambassador of the Ministry of Stories, an organisation that fosters the potential of 8- to 18-year-olds as writers. After publishing four poetry books and receiving the Fringe First prize at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival for his first play The 14th Tale, Ellams sold out his run at the National Theatre with Barber Shop Chronicles. His most recent play The Half God of Rainfall, a work in verse that mixes Greek, Nigerian and basketball mythology, opened in March 2019 in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre to great critical acclaim. In addition to his intense graphic and literary output, Ellams has founded the Midnight Run, an urban tour from dusk to dawn, and the RAP parties that combine poetry slam with urban music. He talks to Peter Florence about how his work crosses disciplines and themes, such as identity, migration and coexistence.
Designer Emilio Gil, winner of the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts 2015, and photographer Eugenio Recuenco started working together in 2018 with the 365º exhibition, a unique artistic endeavour, a joint effort rich in content and an enormously appealing mise en scène. The artists will talk about the relationship between photography and graphic design – artistic forms that complement each other. From illustrated magazines to photo books, Gil and Recuenco will talk about both disciplines and their historical journey.Photo ©: TAU Design
Architect Jeanne Gang is the founder of Studio Gang, which, in addition to being a renowned architectural firm, acts as a hothouse for testing ideas on varying scales, from cities and environments to building materials and their properties. Jeanne Gang has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of architecture and design to build better communities and better buildings: such as the Bengt Sjostrom Starlight Theatre in Illinois which includes a retractable roof that opens to the sky; Aqua Tower in Chicago, an 82-storey tower that breaks from the traditional norms of skyscraper design, including balconies that vary in size and shape on each floor; the energy-saving high-rise apartments Solstice on the Park in Chicago, and the future US Embassy in Brazil.
She is a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, awarded 2016 Architect of the Year by The Architectural Review, and the only architect present on the 2019 list of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Jeanne will talk about architecture and innovation with Martha Thorne, Dean of IE School of Architecture and Design and Executive Director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and with Edwin Heathcote, Architecture and Design Critic for The Financial Times. The event is presented by Frederick Studemann.
Ben Evans CBE is the Director of London Design Festival, which he co-founded with Sir John Sorrell CBE in 2003. The festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world and has inspired similar events in many international cities. It is an annual event involving 400 partner organisations and attracts almost one million individual visits.
In 2016 he added a new project, the London Design Biennale, where countries, cities and territories present design installations to a theme taking over the entirety of Somerset House for three weeks. He is the Executive Director of the Biennale.
He has been a Governor of the University of the Arts London, a Board Member of the Roundhouse, and a Trustee of Artangel. Since 2017 Ben has been Chairman of the Mayor’s Cultural Leaders Board – a statutory advisory group to the London Mayor.
Ben will discuss the essence of good design and good style with Dylan Jones OBE, Editor-in-Chief, British GQ. The event will be presented by Caroline Michel, Chair of Hay Festivals.