Talks & Topics
Talks & debates

Cities of Ice and Glass: Nordic Utopias

Part of World on the Brink

How are designers and writers reimagining the spaces most of us call home?

As cities across the world become increasingly densely populated, we look to cities leading the way towards sustainability such as Copenhagen in the Nordic region.

Find out what lessons can be drawn from their pioneering architecture which combines natural materials with state of the art methods, and what stories about urban life can tell us about the way our interactions in cities are changing.

Speakers include:

- Onny Eikhaug, a Programme Leader at Design and Architecture Norway, responsible for the organisation’s activities in the field of people-centred, inclusive design. She is also responsible for the Centre's government-funded Innovation for All programme promoting inclusive design to business and public sector as an effective strategy for innovation. She writes, publishes, and lectures both in Norway and internationally, curates exhibitions and works closely with designers, education, research institutions, industry and government. She is responsible for the book Innovating with people – The Business of Inclusive Design, distributed worldwide as a design school curriculum and the platform for the Executive Education in Inclusive Design concept. She has broad experience in international business management, marketing, sales, innovation, product development and design management and holds an MBA from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.

- Pajtim Statovci (b. 1990), who moved from Kosovo to Finland with his family when he was two-years-old. His debut novel, My Cat Yugoslavia, relates in sensitive and finely tuned prose the inner conflict and questions about one’s identity that immigration, homosexuality, and the past might stir. The novel, published in 2014, received widespread acclaim among critics and readers alike, and Statovci won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in the category ‘Best Debut’. The awarding jury praised the still only 24-year-old author’s ability to combine the dreamlike with the realistic, and give old symbols new meaning and power. At present, Pajtim Statovci studies comparative literature at the University of Helsinki, and screenwriting at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

- Michael Booth is the award-winning, bestselling author of six works of non-fiction, including The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia (Cape), which was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and winner of the British Guild of Travel Writers Best Book award. His latest is The Meaning of Rice: And Other Stories from the Belly of Japan, published in October (Cape). Previous books include Sacré Cordon Bleu, which was also a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and Sushi and Beyond, winner of the 2010 Guild of Food Writers' Kate Whitman Award. Michael's journalism appears regularly in The Guardian, among many other publications in the UK and globally. He is a correspondent for Monocle magazine and Monocle 24 Radio, and travels regularly to give talks and lectures on the Nordic lands.

- Linda Thiel is a London-based Swedish architect with 20 years of experience in architecture and urban design throughout Scandinavia and, more recently, in the UK. After running her own architectural practice for 11 years, Linda joined White Arkitekter in 2007 and is now Partner and the Director of White’s London studio, which opened in 2015. Linda has extensive experience in complex projects with an emphasis on commercial office projects, public buildings and urban planning. Projects are characterised by a holistic approach, where environmental, economic and social aspects are an integral part of the architectural design. Connectivity and the creation of high quality public spaces is at the heart of every project. Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm is an example of this; the project is hailed as an international exemplar. Linda is applying these values to a broad spectrum of projects throughout the UK, including a masterplan for Leeds Climate Innovation District and the redevelopment of St Augustine’s Church in Barnet for the Diocese of London.

Part of Nordic Matters

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
St Paul's Roof Pavilion, Level 6, Blue Side


Included in Pass
£20, £35

need to know

This event is included in both the World on the Brink Saturday Pass and the World on the Brink Weekend Pass.