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DesignTalks 2020 - Michael Pawlyn Biomimicry architect and initiator of Architects Declare




"We all fooled ourselves that sustainability was getting us where we needed to go and it was all making everything better, (...) There's something inherently problematic in the framing of sustainability that implies the best you can aspire to is neutrality, and anything less than that is just part of a degenerative downward cycle."

Michael Pawlyn pioneering architect of regenerative design and biomimicry is one of the speakers at the international conference DesignTalks 2020 which will take place in Harpa on the 26th of March.

Pawlyn established his firm Exploration Architecture in 2007 to focus on high performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy. Prior to setting up Exploration he worked for ten years with Grimshaw, an awarded practice that covers architecture, planning and industrial design across all major sectors around the globe, where he was central to the team that designed the Eden Project, transforming former landmines in Cornwall, UK to an ecological park.

Pawlyn is regularly booked as a keynote speaker on innovation and his TED talk has had over 2 million viewings and his book Biomimicry in Architecture has been RIBA Publications’ best-selling title for year.
Michael Pawlyn jointly initiated the widely acclaimed Sahara Forest Project; the latest version of which was opened by the King of Jordan in 2017.

In 2019 Pawlyn was involved in launching ‘Architects Declare’ which has spread internationally and now has over four thousand companies signed up to addressing the climate and biodiversity crisis. Icelandic architects have also signed up, which you can read more about here.



Pawlyn will join biodesigner Natsai Audrey Chieza and Studio Formafantasma who previously have been announced speakers at DesignTalks 2020.

This years overall theme is New World, New Ways and will operate as a red thread through the day, as all the speakers are in one way or the other responding to the current global situation.

“Imagination is important now. The global situation demands that we face up to it and accept our responsibility, it demands, without a doubt immediate actions and reform but not the least a new vision for the future; we got to keep paving the way,“
says Hlín Helga Guðlaugsdóttir, curator of DesignTalks. 
This year she will be joined by Robert Thiemann, founder and editor-in-chief of FRAME magazine to moderate the event. Thiemann is the director of Frame Publishers.



Stay tuned as we will announce more speakers for DesignTalks 2020. 

Here you can secure your ticket. 

Here is the event on Facebook.

DesignTalks is a signature event of DesignMarch, produced by the Iceland Design Centre with the support of Arion Bank and the City of Reykjavik.