Therme Art Program

Therme Forum: Free Future Cities Panel Discussion at the British Pavilion

Therme Forum: Free Future Cities marks the launch of Therme Group’s partnership with the British Council as part of Therme Art. The event is presented at the British Pavilion within their Island programme, featuring leading voices in art, architecture, and science to discuss the future of architecture and city planning.


Free Future Cities is presented during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, using the Biennale exhibition concept of ‘Freespace’ as a point of departure for the discussion. Panelists will analyse how a free and common environment can liberate the mind and body; how the idea of ‘Freespace’ can be created through innovation in art and architecture; and how aiming for a ‘Freefuture’ will help us to reconsider architecture and city planning. The British Pavilion’s Island, conceived by Caruso St John Architects with artist Marcus Taylor, also responds to the Biennale’s exhibition theme of Freespace and is “intended as a platform for a new and optimistic beginning,” providing further context to the panel discussion topic of future cities.


Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director), Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst (Founding Partner, FuturePace), Michaela de Pury (Co-Founder & Partner, de Pury de Pury), Peter St John (Partner, Caruso St John Architects), Lonneke Gordijn (Artist & co-founder at Studio Drift), Stefano Mancuso (Professor of Botany and Author), and Robert C. Hanea (Partner, President & Chairman of the Board, Therme Group); moderated by Mikolaj Sekutowicz (Partner & Vice President of Therme Group and Curator of Therme Art) and Sara Faraj (Secretary of the Therme Art Advisory Board).


Image: Island at the British Pavilion. Photo: by Philip Heckhausen


A Therme Workshop is hosted the next day at Bauer Palladio to continue the conversation from the Free Future Cities panel discussion within a more intimate and focused environment. An esteemed group of interdisciplinary participants have been invited to the workshop to contribute in defining the Therme Art’s initiatives and formulate new concepts of city planning.

The British Council is the latest addition to Therme Group’s network of partner organisations that aims to extend Therme Art’s mission of supporting the art community and contributing to an open dialogue on creating sustainable solutions for our future cities through innovations in art and architecture.



Image: Island at the British Pavilion. Photo: by Philip Heckhausen


Hans Ulrich Obrist and Peter St John on Obrist’s tour of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Photo: Chiara Ferronato


Free Future Cities panel discussion. Photo: Chiara Farronato


Free Future Cities reception on British Pavilion rooftop. Photo: Chiara Ferronato


Free Future Cities reception on British Pavilion rooftop. Photo: Chiara Ferronato

Panelists Bios


Hans Ulrich Obrist
Serpentine Galleries Artistic Director
Hans Ulrich Obrist is the Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. Prior to this, he was the Curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show “World Soup” (The Kitchen Show) in 1991, he has curated more than 300 shows. Obrist’s recent publications include Mondialité, Conversations in Colombia, Ways of Curating, The Age of Earthquakes (with Douglas Coupland and Shumon Basar), and Lives of The Artists, Lives of The Architects.

Lonneke Gordijn 
Artist, Studio Drift
Lonneke Gordijn, alongside Ralph Nauta, founded Studio Drift in 2007. Their focus is creating multi-disciplinary site-specific interactive installations, sculptures, objects and films, which propose a distinct mix between the latest science fiction inspired hi-tech developments and their poetic imagery. Their work explores existing and new relationships between nature, technology and mankind, are in the collections of the V&A Museum in London, the San Francisco MoMA, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, The Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum.

Peter St John
Partner, Caruso St John Architects
Peter St John is a partner at Caruso St John Architects, co-curators of the British Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. He was born in London in 1959 and studied architecture at UCL and the AA before founding his practice with Adam Caruso in 1990. Caruso St John Architects has built major projects throughout Europe and was awarded the 2016 RIBA Stirling Prize for the UK’s best new building for the Newport Street Gallery.

Stefano Mancuso 
Professor of Botany and Author
Stefano Mancuso has been working as a university professor (professore ordinario) at the University of Florence since 2001 and is a member of the Accademia dei Georgofili. Mancuso is a founding member of the “International Society for Plant Signaling & Behavior” and director of the 2005 founded LINV “Laboratorio Internazionale di Neurobiologia Vegetale.”

Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst  
Founding Partner, FuturePace
Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst was the President of Pace London (2012–2017), and has been with the gallery since 2010. From 1997 to 1999 she was a Director at Gagosian Gallery, New York, and from 1999 to 2004, she was Managing Director of Gagosian’s London location. Prior to joining Pace London, Mollie was the International Director and Programme Coordinator for The Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow.

Michaela Neumeister de Pury 
Co-Founder and Partner of de Pury de Pury and
Michaela de Pury is Co-Founder and Partner of de Pury de Pury, a company specialising in building collections, consulting established collectors and institutions together with facilitating private transactions of Impressionist, Modern, Post War and Contemporary Art. In 2015, she co-founded, an online auction platform.

Robert C. Hanea 
President and Chairman of the Board, Therme Group
Dr. Robert C. Hanea is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Therme Group, a leading global technology company and integrator of wellness and entertainment concepts focused on revolutionising the wellbeing industry. Dr. Hanea holds a LLM degree from The National Law University in Romania and a Law Degree from Ludwig-Maximillian University (LMU) München, Germany. He also holds a Degree of Doctor of Law (Juris Doctor) from the University of München.



Mikolaj Sekutowicz 
Partner & Vice President of Therme Group and Curator of Therme Art
Mikolaj Sekutowicz is Partner and Vice President of Therme Group, a leading global technology company and integrator of wellness and entertainment concepts focused on revolutionising the wellbeing industry. Responsible for the global rollout Mikolaj initiated Therme Art and serves as its curator. Being a lawyer and management professional his whole career, Mikolaj was also founding director of TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art and publisher of art related books.

Sara Faraj 
Secretary of the Therme Art Advisory Board
Sara Faraj studied psychology in Warsaw and Art Management in New York and worked for a UAE based Art Fund. In 2017, Sara joined the Therme Art team and helped to create the International Advisory Board. She serves on the board as a member and has been its secretary since the beginning of 2018.