Once a trusty companion reserved for commuting, the podcast's rocketing rise shows no sign of slowing. Here are some of our picks – old and new – that put design and architecture top of the agenda, offering in depth conversations with some of the industry's brightest minds.
Few furniture brands have their own podcast, but then few have the creative heft or heritage of Italian powerhouse B&B Italia. Launched in lockdown, The Couch eschews the ubiquitous weekly guest format and instead centres each episode around a domestic theme – the home of the future, or, wonderfully, the eponymous couch itself – inviting three or more 'voices' to weigh in. Discussions, guided by design journalist David Plaisant, have a gently philosophical bent.
Cult estate agent The Modern House touts its new podcast, which invites a guest to share their three favourite homes anywhere in the world, as ‘Desert Islands Discs for design lovers’. The lineup is as carefully curated as the site's properties: think artist and designer Faye Toogood, architect Jonathan Tuckey, potter Edmund de Waal and artist Michael Craig-Martin, with designers Ab Rogers and Wayne Hemingway coming soon. Co-founder Matt Gibberd is on hosting duties.
In her new podcast Design Principals with Bethan Ryder, the ex ELLE Decoration journalist puts female designers and architects firmly front and centre. A discussion on sustainable design, self-discipline and making it in a man’s world with Slovenian designer Nika Zupanc kicked off the inaugural episode, while the second sees design polymath Lara Bohinc talk everything from materials to former Yugoslavia’s Spomenik monuments. Dutch designer Kiki van Eijk is up next.
Those wary of architect speak should tune into the aptly-named Another Architecture Podcast, which presents sensational residential projects in simple terms. Sustainability is a specialism, but it's the third episode with John Ellway, who transformed his dilapidated Brisbane cottage into a lush sanctuary, that'll have you pondering your home's potential. Host George Bradley, of east London firm Bradley Van Der Straeten, brings expertise and enthusiasm in equal measure.
Lauded writer and critic Grant Gibson is better placed than most to go in depth on design. For his Materials Matters podcast launched last year, he invites a designer, maker or artist to muse on the potential of a single material – think Bill Amberg on leather and Bethan Laura Wood on laminate. An exception was made for a standout episode with Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, who dive into plywood, recycled plastic and how the British design scene has evolved since the 1990s.
For recent episodes of Justyna Green’s popular weekly podcast series On Design, she's quizzed designer Stacie Woolsey on creating her own Masters programme after being priced out of further education, plus Papier CEO Taymoor Atighetchi and 8 Holland Street gallery founder Tobias Vernon – old friends from their Cambridge days – on friendship, entrepreneurship and good taste. Delve into the archive for past musings with the likes of Piero Lissoni, Sophie Ashby and Michael Anastassiades.
Brit architects Luke Jones and George Gingell's lively podcast About Buildings and Cities does what it says on the tin with a brilliantly broad appeal, supplementing the pair's architectural contemplations with significant detours into film, tech and fiction. Now 70 episodes deep, intelligent yet informal discussions focus on topics as diverse as Blade Runner and Michelangelo, and there are multi-episode series on legends like Le Corbusier and Zaha Hadid – plus the odd request from listeners.
Born from the creative hub of West London's White City – and still produced there – Thought Starters is a podcast with a distinctly entrepreneurial spirit, where creative business leaders are invited to weigh in alongside designers and creators like Sella Concept and Adam Nathaniel Furman. Expect thought-provoking conversations on the reality of creative success in the contemporary world, with museum directors, communications consultants and company CEOs.
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