Carolyn Larkin | New Forms of Presence | Live Chat Series | Episode 2

The second Instagram Live Chat Series, presented by MDFF—Athens’s guest Daniel Gava, Brand Strategy Advisor to the architecture and design industry, part of the initiative New Forms Of Presence. The Live chats aim to explore new forms of connection by zooming into each guest, and zooming out, looking at the knowledge, observations, experience, and happenings within the sector that each one represents.⁣
The 2nd Episode revolves around the notion of Events and Public gatherings: From the society and celebrity scene of the past, to the architecture and design Events of the future.⁣

A conversation with Carolyn Larkin

The chat explores the notion of physical togetherness and the importance public gatherings have in understanding, communicating, networking, and generating new collaborations and ideas; the ways that design’s view of itself is changing at the moment; The art of cultivating human relationships within the physical sphere vs. digital sphere; the challenges when it comes to communication during the lockdown, the readiness of architect and design practices/companies, amongst others. ⁣

Carolyn Larkin

Founder of creative communications agency Caro Communications. For over quarter of a century Caro has played a pivotal role in the delivery of international campaigns and launches for brands, architects, designers and artists. Events have included Architecture Week, 100% Design, the London Festival of Architecture, Venice Architecture Biennale, Design Junction and Clerkenwell Design Week. Current projects include the media relations and launch of the world’s largest public art project “Illuminated River” and “World Architecture Festival” scheduled to take place in Lisbon in December 2020.⁣

“We work with a lot of shows… we have had some wonderful experience over the years with the early days of 100% Design, launching of Clerkenwell Design Week. It’s very much about contact with people. But I have to say, more recently, particularly trade shows and that sort of compulsory schedule, after 20 something years of getting on planes and going, as much as when you get there is fine, but it can be same old same old, and it is time for some sort of change, and I think this is a catalyst really to look at how that might play… There are many advantages to working with digital, not least to actually being kinder to our planet and kinder to ourselves, because it’s punishing all that travel; I don’t know how people in Fashion do it… it’s exhausting, and it’s a life, but it’s not a life. People burn out, and I think this is a real-time for reflection and the fact that we have all had to embrace digital, even me, to actually come in terms with different ways of working and I really hope that when we get back to the new normal, there is a high-grade of using digital technology as well as the real-time of treasuring those moments with people, and that way of exchange… I do feel that actual events are a fantastic platform, I am not a great person in promoting myself, I am in the business of promoting other people, and I get immense pleasure from it, I get immense pleasure from nurturing young emerging talent alongside established talent, and there is nothing like a particular event to bring different people together to forge opportunities, and I cannot see how that can be replaced… It’s going to be really interesting to see how the Dezeen Virtual Design Festival and other similar events that have been launching from different platforms, fantastic initiatives, and how that will help the people that were looking forward to that moment where they were launching something in Milan or Clerkenwell Design Week or whatever it might be. I think it definitely opens a conversation, but there is nothing like sealing the deal when actually meeting people face to face… The younger generation, if we are talking about architects in particular and designers as well, I think they are so in tune with digital and social media platforms, they have embraced it a lot more easily, and in fact, there are some really great rewards for some people. A Studio Shaw, a very small talented practice… they started to do sketches, and they did this sort of game of consequences where they would do the one part of a building, and someone else would do the other part, and it just sparked this fantastic movement within the architects’ journal or sharing architects sketches during a lockdown. That’s bringing them back to what they do, drawing, sketching, and actually reflection. So, that’s been generated from one of the younger practices, but it actually prompted more established practices to embrace it as well… I cannot imagine, and that’s a discussion to have with an architect, how you are designing buildings and coming up with ideas with Zoom… How can you monitor what is happening on site… The Illuminated River is the largest public art project in the world at the moment, and it’s a terribly exciting thing to be involved with… I think public art is public art and I think it does help and it is there and people do take notice… and it might touch you in some way… I think it is more about the gallerists; that’s where I become worried. I am absolutely delighted that all the gallerists are trying to do their best to have virtual exhibitions so that we can experience what is happening, that’s great; but, there is nothing like going to a theater, looking at a painting and losing yourself and immersing yourself. It is very therapeutic, and in this world where we are full of fake news, too much social media, lots of hostility to lose yourself in a painting or with a lovely play or with a lovely piece of music that you hear the first time I don’t think anything can replace that… Businesses have to continue trading, so they have been forced into use digital technology… I am sure in the New normal, particularly for art collectors, they may have developed new audiences, and that is the joy of combining both…” _Carolyn Larkin