A New Episode of Talking Spaces, a podcast from FX Magazine

The second episode of Talking Spaces, FX Magazine's podcast, is now out. Titled 'Close to Home', it looks at designing for the local with guests from Squire & Partners and VeloCity




While it might still be a little harder than usual to get your hands on a copy of FX Magazine, we are excited to release the second episode from our new podcast series, Talking Spaces.

FX is interested in exploring the design of all the spaces in which we spend our lives, whether that be schools, offices, hotels, bars or hospitals – and this podcast is no exception. Throughout the series we’ll be joined by guests inside and outside the industry for provocative conversations on all that goes into designing these spaces.

Our second episode is titled ‘Close to Home’, inspired by the instruction to stay home and avoid travel due to COVID-19. It prompted us at FX to think more about how to design for local living and working, with the help of some industry guests whose experience and current projects are relevant to the topic.

The first is Maria Cheung, a director and head of interior design at Squire & Partners. The practice has been engaged with its local community since relocating its office to a prominent Brixton building, working with local artists, schoolchildren, businesses and the Brixton BID. Squire & Partners' recent project The Department Store Studios hopes to expand on these collaborations, and is what the practice defines as a hyperlocal workspace – listen to the episode to hear Maria explain what a hyperlocal workspace is, and how you design for it.

Considering that ‘local’ can mean something quite different in the countryside than it does in the city, in the second half of the podcast FX talks to the architects Petra Marko and Sarah Featherstone of VeloCity, a collaborative group of industry experts focussing on rural development. They discuss how not enough architectural attention is focused on the countryside, and talk through some of the critical issues that VeloCity's vision hopes to tackle.

While designing for local living and working is at the forefront of our minds as we navigate the lifestyle shifts necessitated by the pandemic, the relevance of many of the ideas discussed extend well beyond the immediate period. We hope you enjoy listening to the podcast and look forward to continuing the conversation in the future. 

If you missed it, our first episode, ‘A Space to Talk’ with the poet Lionheart and Laura Lee of charity Maggie’s is available here. We’ll be releasing more episodes in the coming months, so please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts to make sure you don’t miss any of them!

The host for this podcast was Sophie Tolhurst, assistant editor of FX Magazine. Music, editing and production was provided by Lee Endres. Our first two episodes can be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Soundcloud.

About the Speakers

Maria Cheung, director and head of interior design, Squire & Partners

Maria Cheung

Maria Cheung is a director and head of interior design at award winning architecture and design practice Squire & Partners. Maria’s experience spans workspace, residential and hotel developments and extends to bespoke installations and products, retail displays and exhibition design. She has been an invited awards judge for Dezeen, Blueprint and World Interior News and spoken at industry events including London Craft Week, London Design Festival and designjunction.
Maria has contributed to articles in design publications including Monocle, ICON and AnOther magazine. Design is a passion for Maria, who strives to create beautiful spaces that transcend their functional requirements to surprise and enhance the user’s experience. 


Sarah Featherstone & Petra Marko of VeloCity

VeloCity members (left to right)  Jennifer Ross, Kay Hughes, Annalie Riches, Sarah Featherstone, Petra Marko, Judith Sykes

VeloCity is a strategic vision that solves some of the most critical issues facing the countryside today, delivered by a team of industry experts. Winner of the 2017 National Infrastructure Commission’s ideas competition which sought inspirational visions for the Oxford-Cambridge corridor, the VeloCity team have since spoken widely to government, local authorities, communities and landowners and won awards including the William Sutton Prize for Excellence in Social Housing Design and Placemaking (2018). In 2019 VeloCity launched their manifesto at the Oslo Architecture Triennale. The exhibition’s overarching theme of Degrowth explored new ways of shaping our society in the age of climate emergency.

Sarah Featherstone is an architect and co-Director of Featherstone Young, an award-winning practice with expertise in housing, placemaking and social engagement. Her practice was recently awarded AJ Retrofit Winner of the Year for Ty Pawb, a new arts model repurposing a multi-storey car park.  Sarah teaches at Central Saint Martins and Cardiff University and sits on a number of Design Review Panels.

Petra Marko is an architect, co-founder of Marko&Placemakers and director of Solidspace. Working between client-side enabling, placemaking and design advocacy, Petra has a growing profile as a younger generation leader breaking industry silos. Petra was a member of the inaugural National Infrastructure Commission Young Professionals Panel and is a think tank leader at the London School of Architecture.




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