Design podcasts to discover: creative giants share smalltalk and big ideas

Listen to the best design podcasts by creators, curators and journalists, shining a spotlight on different areas of the design practice

Design Podcasts
(Image credit: Wallpaper*)

Tune into our edit of favourite design podcasts to accompany your commute or countryside walk, or to simply offer insight into some of the most fascinating aspects of the practice. From engaging interviews with the world’s leading creatives to in-depth explorations on specific topics such as wood and sofas, this is our pick of the best design podcasts to listen to now. 


 Design Emergency Podcast 

 Collaborative platform Design Emergency waS set up by MoMA design curator Paola Antonelli and design critics and Wallpaper* contributor Alice Rawsthorn, with the aim of exploring ‘design’s role in building a better future.’ What started as an informal Instagram live series during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has blossomed into a project that constitutes an important voice on the design panorama and now includes a book and design podcasts. In its inaugural episode, Rawsthorn interviews architect David Adjaye who talks about ‘architecture’s potential to secure a sustainable future for Africa’, in the context of some of his landmark projects including the National Cathedral of Ghana and the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City.

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Triennale Design Podcasts

Coinciding with the 23rd International Exhibition, Triennale Milano adds to its design podcasts series with a quartet of podcasts in collaboration with Mismaonda, to connect the public with their exhibitions. Available to listen in Italian and English, the podcasts are accessible from the Triennale website as well as throughout the exhibition spaces via QR code. The collection includes An Introduction to Mysteries and Unknown Unknowns by Francesco Pacifico, offering an insight into the exhibition curated by Ersilia Vaudo , Breaking New by Marianna Aprile focusing on La Tradizione Del Nuovo (A Tradition of the New), the exhibition curated by Marco Sammicheli , and Mondo Reale by Tlon (Andrea Colamedici and Maura Gancitano), a companion to the eponymous exhibition curated by Hervé Chandès, General Artistic Director of the Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain.

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Material Matters with Grant Gibson

The starting point for each of Grant Gibson’s conversations with designers, makers or entrepreneurs is a material. Gibson created a series of engaging and intensely addictive episodes focusing on everything from paper (with Wallpaper’s long-term collaborator James Cropper), recycled aluminium (with Emeco owner Gregg Buchbinder) and even bacteria (with Natsai Audrey Chieza (opens in new tab)) and dead animals (with artist Polly Morgan). Each hour-long interview delves into the subject’s personal history while offering an educated, informative and in-depth take on each material. The podcast has now evolved to become a design fair, which made its debut during London Design Festival 2022 (opens in new tab)

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On Design with Justyna Green

Now in its fourth season (and with the support of The Conran Shop), On Design is hosted by illustrator and media professional Justyna Green through a series of insightful conversations with leading figures of design, from entrepreneurs to curators and designers: ‘If you want to know what inspires them, how they work and how they see the world, this is the podcast for you.’ With early interviews featuring the likes of Michael Anastassiades and Formafantasma (opens in new tab), the latest season features designers Bethan Laura Wood and Alex Proba, and artist Shantell Martin. 

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The Be-Spoke Podcast

Multimedia project Woven Voices launched the Be-Spoke Podcast, revealing ' the relationships behind the commissioning process through the stories of designers, makers, clients, curators and brokers.' Woven Voices founder Adriana Paice Kent speaks to creatives including Shiro Muchiri of SoShiro (opens in new tab) and architects Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos of Bureau de Change, delving into the experience of commissioning and making.

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Where Next? Conversations with Map Project Office

Map Project Office celebrates its 10th birthday with a new podcast discussing topical issues in design and technology. Created in collaboration with quarterly design journal Disegno and hosted by Oli Stratford, each of the monthly episodes starts with a question, addressing circularity, technology, mobility and the evolution of the role of designers in an increasingly digital world. In every episode, a member of the Map team discusses the topic with guests including Design Museum’s Head of Curatorial and Interpretation Priya Khanchandani, designer Hella Jongerius, architect Afaina de Jong and Faber Futures founder Natsai Audrey Chieza.

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The Modern House Podcast

Contemporary real estate agency The Modern House has invited creatives to come and chat on their bi-monthly podcast about homes. The lineup includes architect Kevin Carmody, fashion designers Eudon Choi and Margaret Howell, designers Jay Osgerby and Faye Toogood and artist Edmund de Waal (among many more) - each creative was asked to pick 3 modern houses they appreciate, discussed through a conversation with host and The Modern House co-founder Matt Gibberd that touches upon their practice. 

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The Creative Boom Podcast

A series of ‘candid conversations with artists and designers about their creative journeys so far’, the Creative Boom design podcast goes deep into the artistic world and lives of creatives such as Pentagram's Marina Willer and artist Morag Myerscough. The series so far features over 70 episodes that cover creativity as well as the challenged faced by working in the industry, from equality to mental health.

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If Not Now Then When?

An inspirational creative platform supporting people entering the creative industries, ‘If Not Now Then When?’ was established in 2017 as a way to establish conversations in the creative communities about the networking platforms available to design professionals. ‘We agreed the industry should be much more accessible to everyone,’ reads the initiative’s statement. ‘It began life as a series of casual design networking evenings and has since grown into a company that supports both creative individuals and brands in achieving their aspirations.’ Its podcasts of the same name is was created with the intention ‘to make idols become accessible mentors’, through chats with a diverse group of entrepreneurs and creatives. Episodes include conversations with Studioilse’s Oscar Peña, streetwear designer Denzel Currie, Anarchitect, Black Females in Architecture co-founder Akua Danso and Michael Anastassiades. 

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It’s Nice That Podcast

Newly launched at the beginning of 2022, the It’s Nice That Podcast made its debut with three episodes looking at creativity through in-depth conversations with graphic designers including Christoph Niemann, Eric Hu and the New York Times Magazine creative director Gail Bichler. Hosted by editor-in-chief Matt Alagiah, this new fortnightly design podcast 'seeks to scrub away the Instagram gloss and hear the honest truth from people who have built careers out of their creativity.' As an added bonus, each episode ends with a 'Nice Note', a voice memo sent by global designers and artists, describing a favourite spot in their home city (with the inaugural episodes 'visiting' Mumbai, Montpellier and Sydney). 

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Nice Try! 

The second season of the popular ‘Nice Try!’ design podcasts focuses on everyday interiors and the objects that populate our homes (after a season centered on failed utopias). Enter the vacuum cleaner, the mattress, the doorbell and the bidet, or as host Avery Trufelman puts it, 'the home products and technologies sold to americans over and over again, along with the promises they have made, kept and broken.' The history, design and secrets of our most intimate household objects is explored through 40-minute episodes that combine social commentary with fun trivia. A humorous, thought-provoking and captivating must listen.

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Talking practice

What do designers do, why and how they do it is the focus of a series of design podcasts from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. ‘Talking Practice’ is hosted by Grace La, the school’s professor of architecture and chair of Practice Platform, and features ‘in-depth interviews with leading designers on the ways in which architects, landscape architects, designers, and planners articulate design imagination through practice’. Episodes include interviews with OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu and designers Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu.

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Words on Wood by AHEC Europe

Described as ‘a deep dive into the built environment’, AHEC (opens in new tab)’s ‘Words on Wood’ podcast (now in its second season) is developed as a series of cross-disciplinary conversations with designers and material experts to explore our relationship with the forest. Hosted by editors Oli Stratford and India Block, each half-hour episode is alternated with a 15-minute ‘tree short’ focusing on a specific species. Guests so far have included designers Sam Hecht and Yves Behar talking about new wood technologies, and Stephen Burks talking with Zanat founder Orhan Niksic in conversation on their approach to traditional woodworking techniques. 

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The Couch – Conversations on Design by B&B Italia

B&B Italia enlisted journalist David Plaisant (who memorably interviewed architect Paolo Portoghesi for Wallpaper*) to curate its first podcast series, talking all things sofas and homes with leading design voices including Michael Anastassiades, Mario Bellini, Ivy Ross (opens in new tab), and Philippe Starck. Topics of the 30-minute conversations include ideas on the home of the future, comfort and ergonomics and the impact of the sofa on popular culture, with focus episodes on B&B classics such as ‘Camaleonda’ and ‘Le Bambole’, two iconic Mario Bellini designs.

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Circular with Katie Treggiden

Through her work, journalist Katie Treggiden has specialised in craft and sustainability and she shares her expertise in the hour-long episodes of her design podcast, ‘Circular’. In every episode, Treggiden talks to the thinkers, doers, and makers of the circular economy: ‘These are the people who are challenging the linear take, make, waste model of production and consumption, and working towards something better.’ Through this inspiring series, she talks about topics such as repair and waste with Celia Pym, Christopher Raeburn, Daniel Charny and many more. 

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Opinionated podcast by Luca Nichetto

This series of design podcasts features informal dialogues between Italian, Stockholm-based designer Luca Nichetto and his creative friends, including Daan Roosegaarde (opens in new tab) and Giorgia Lupi, who share their views on the world-changing power of design.

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Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.