Look to the Future

Debating forum Intelligence Squared (IQ2) is set to launch what it calls its ‘inaugural flight into the future’, the two-day If conference in London.

The event aims to enlighten us about the excitements and dangers of tomorrow’s world, and a host of designers and critics are joining the debate, alongside scientists and futurologists.

Each speaker has a 15-minute slot, meaning that a wide variety of topics, case studies and proposals can be tackled.


Stephen Bayley will propose that cultures that manufacture are more socially cohesive, in a talk with the intriguing title of ‘a circular saw, a Gauloise and a little red wine’, while Jeremy Myerson, director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, will look at the design challenges that come with an ageing society.

Meanwhile Richard Savage, managing partner at Retail in Action, will be discussing the changing role of the High Street, and Matt Jones, principal at Berg London, will discuss the growing dominance of software, code and other technology in our lives.

Halley VI Antarctic Research Station elevation by Hugh Broughton Architects

Other design and architecture highlights include vertical garden specialist Patrick Blanc, architect Hugh Broughton, who has designed a research centre in Antartica, and physicist Rachel Armstrong, who poses the thought-provoking (and slightly worrying) question ‘will the buildings of the future be alive?’. Novelist Geoff Dyer will look at the way technology is changing the way we create things and engage with each other.


The organisers highlight the level of engagement that will be on offer at the conference, describing the event as ‘a conversation rather than a series of lectures’, adding, ‘We defy you to walk away from the conference bereft of ideas and uninspired.’

The If Conference is at the Royal Geographical Society, London SW7, on 25-26 November.

Tickets for the full conference cost £299 + VAT or £75 + VAT for each individual session. Design Week readers can get 20% off all tickets by using the code IQ21FDW when purchasing from http://www.iq2ifconference.com/tickets.html

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