Thomas Heatherwick: Humanise

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


Our world is losing its humanity. Too many companies care more about their shareholders than society. Too many politicians care more about elections than the people who vote for them. And too many cities feel soulless and depressing, designed for business, not for us. So where do we find hope?

In Humanise, Thomas Heatherwick offers us a fiercely passionate analysis of why we’re surrounded by buildings that make people sick and unhappy and damage the planet, and how we can make them better for everyone.

Drawing on 30 years of making bold, beautiful buildings, and recent advances in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Heatherwick argues that buildings have the power to lift us up and make us feel like we matter. And perhaps this book can chart a way to bring some humanity back to all our towns and cities. For this event, the author is in conversation with Ekow Eshun.

Thomas Heatherwick is one of the world’s most renowned designers, whose varied work is characterised by its originality, inventiveness and humanity. Heatherwick Studio is a global team of 260 makers, designers and architects dedicated to making the physical world radically more joyful and engaging. Some of their work includes the 2012 Olympic Cauldron, Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross, Little Island in New York, and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Africa Art in Cape Town.

Ekow Eshun is chairman of the Fourth Plinth, overseeing the foremost public art programme in the UK, and the former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. He is the curator of exhibitions including, most recently, In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery, London, awarded the Curatorial Prize 2023 by the Association for Art History, and author of books including Black Gold of the Sun, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. Described by The Guardian as a 'cultural polymath', he is the writer and presenter of documentaries including the BBC film Dark Matter: A History of the Afrofuture, and the BBC Radio 4 series White Mischief. His writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Financial Times, The Guardian and The Observer.

Period19 Oct 2023
Event titleLondon Literature Festival
Event typeOther
LocationLondon, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational