Therme Art Program

Therme Art Presents Therme Forum at Design Miami/ Basel 2019 Talks Programme

In partnership with Design Miami/ for a second consecutive year, Therme Art presented a panel discussion on the future of sustainable architecture and city-planning as part of the fair’s Design Talks program.



The City of Artists––Cities Between Crisis, Catharsis and Creation––How artists can sustainably shape our future environments

Our current cities are contributing to a worldwide environmental crisis. Conversely, solutions can be found there. The discussion focused on the development of sustainable cities through the visions of designers and artists. How can their creativity and innovations be utilised to shape societies which are inclusive, progressive and balanced with the natural world? How can they take responsibility from bureaucracies and other vested interests to design the cities of the future?

Presented within Design Miami/ Basel’s 2019 curatorial theme of Elements: Earth, which responded to the impact of human activity on the nature of our planet, the latest edition of Therme Forum examined how artists can take more responsibility from urban planners, architects and engineers to re-envision sustainable and inclusive cities for the future. Furthermore, the conversation underlined the need to rethink city-planning to counteract the pervasive effects of globalisation and increasing digital technologies with solutions that increase interpersonal experiences and social connections. Facing these issues, panelists considered the potential of the urban environment as a stage for artists to generate radical social transformation.

This iteration of Therme Forum in Basel brought together a group of eight panelists from the fields of art, architecture, and design to explore the increasing role and responsibility of artists in re-envisioning cities for the future: Lonneke Gordijn (Artist, Studio Drift); Jon Gray (Co-founder, Ghetto Gastro); Maja Hoffmann (Founder and President, Luma Arles); Arthur Mamou-Mani (Architect); John May (Founding Principal in MILLIØNS, Los Angeles, and Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of the Master in Design Studies program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design); Studio Swine (Art Collective); and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries), and was moderated by Therme Art Curator Mikolaj Sekutowicz.


Admission to Therme Forum was free and open to the public.










Jon Gray, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Arthur Mamou-Mani, Lonneke Gordijn, Alexander Groves, Azusa Murakami, John May, Maja Hoffmann, Mikolaj Sekutowicz, & Rodman Primack

Panelist Bios


Arthur Mamou-Mani

Arthur Mamou-Mani is a French architect and director of the award-winning practice Mamou-Mani Architects, specialised in a new kind of digitally designed and fabricated architecture. He is a lecturer at the University of Westminster and owns a digital fabrication laboratory called the FabPub which allows people to experiment with large 3D Printers and Laser Cutters. Since 2016, he is a fellow of the The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. In 2018, he designed Galaxia, the temple at Burning Man. He won the RIBA Rising Star Award in 2017 and the Gold Prize at the American Architecture Prize for the Wooden Wave project installed at BuroHappold Engineering.

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries

Hans Ulrich Obrist is 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.

Jon Gray
Co-founder, Ghetto Gastro

Jon Gray is the co-founder of Ghetto Gastro. Based in the Bronx, Ghetto Gastro is a culinary collective and cultural movement that operates at the intersection of food, design and community empowerment through transformative experiences, narrative-driven content, and other tactical techniques.

John May
Founding Principal in MILLIØNS, Los Angeles; Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of the Master in Design Studies at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

John May is founding partner, with Zeina Koreitem, of MILLIØNS, an award-winning Los Angeles-based design practice. May is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he is currently Director of the Master in Design Studies Program and Area Head of the History and Philosophy of Design + Media group. Trained in architecture and philosophy, his essays and interviews on technology, design and the environment are widely published and translated. He is the author of Signal. Image. Architecture. (Columbia, 2019), and New Massings for New Masses (MIT, 2015), and in 2012 was named National Endowment for the Humanities Visiting Professor in Architecture at Rice University.

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.

Maja Hoffmann
Founder and President, Luma Arles

Maja Hoffmann has been engaged in the conceptualisation and development of institutions, programmes and initiatives focused on the production and appreciation of new art, documentary film, human rights, and the environment for over two decades. She founded the Luma Foundation in Zurich in 2004 as a vehicle to express her ongoing commitments, followed by Luma Arles in 2013, a ground-breaking cultural site in Europe, at the Parc des Ateliers in Arles (France) due to open in 2020. Currently, Hoffmann is the President of the Swiss Institute New York and the Vice-President of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation (Switzerland). She serves on the boards of Serpentine Galleries (London) as well as Kunsthalle Zürich (Switzerland), the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York (USA).

Mikolaj Sekutowicz
Curator, 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 co-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.

Studio Swine
Art Collective

Studio Swine was established in 2011 by Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami. Their work straddles the spheres of sculpture, installations and film, blending poetry and research into immersive experiences. Professional training in art and architecture allows the studio to bridge rich and emotional narratives with rigorous technical and spatial awareness. Their work has been widely exhibited, including at the V&A Museum, Pompidou Centre, and the Venice Art and Architecture Biennales.