Photo: Giovanna Celeghin/Levitt Bernstein

I was recently invited to chair the latest architectural debate of the ongoing 'Negroni Talks...!' series, held at Ombra bar/restaurant in Hackney. That's me in the yellow hat, looking like an extra in a Wes Anderson movie.

It was the second Negroni Talk to be themed around 'The Picturesque'. With the title of 'Estate of Mind', the debate tackled social housing, the utopian ideals of post-war projects, the recent fetishisation of them by hipster photographers on Instagram, and the lessons that can be learned for future housing schemes. 

Speakers included photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg, The Modern House co-founder Albert Hill and filmmaker Charlotte Ginsborg. They presented their opinions and debated ideas with a 90-strong audience.

You can listen to the proceedings on the Negroni Talks podcast here.

The Negroni Talks were launched in 2018 by architects fourth_space. They aim to capture the spirit of those lively and opinionated discussions typical of fin de siècle European café culture. The series breaks the traditional format of stuffy architectural debates, opting for a more casual set-up within a bar, with speakers scattered informally throughout the audience.

The fantastic poster was designed by Huw Williams/Nuns With Guns Design.

Photo: Giovanna Celeghin/Levitt Bernstein