This years Clerkenwell Design Week was a bit of a treat - bigger and dare I say it better than some in the past. There was a lot of engagement and a really cohesive design story for the 3-day event. It also felt like there was more of Clerkenwell involved, maybe as the Farmloe building wasn’t an option this year the venues were a little more innovative. Plus the actual walk between events was really thought through with signage and good maps.
On the opening day I joined the weblogdesign crew on a guided walk through some hot spots – this was ace as I’d been unable to make the press breakfast due to school drop offs. I also got to catch up with some great bloggers I knew like Natalia Jane and Daniel Nelson (from we blog design) plus I met some new ones like Natasha Nuttall and Hannah Trickett. We started out from the Arper showroom on Clerkenwell Road – I snapchatted like crazy at Salone del mobile on the Arper stand – here the guys laid on fantastic coffee to get us started as well as sharing with us their collaborative working space.
Next up on the Clerkenwell stomp was a visit to Tom Dixon’s collaboration St. James’ Church and a chance to talk to the man himself. It seems that Vicar Andrew Vaughn of St. James is an enlightened man, he allowed Tom Dixon's team to transformed the space including some fantastic lighting installations and creating a co-working space all within the confines of a Grade I listed building. It is hoped that the local planners will allow St. James to keep the specially commission chandelier in front of the chancel. Tom Dixon's designs for the space seem very fitting given the church's motto is "community, discovery, engagement" and were the first layer in the concept development for the installation. The tranquil space certainly maximised its situation.
Clerkenwell Design Week utilized fantastic signage through the area, the most jaw dropping being the installation collaboration between surface designer Giles Miller and BritishCeramic Tile. Essentially a textural exhibit the large scale installations were a great example of how an everyday object can be transformed into something extraordinary with some creative thinking. As a consequence Clerkenwell looked like it had been besieged with a herd of pangolins searching out design... I'd rather like one as a pet I think.
Another great stop on our walk was Platform, the show that recognises up-and-coming design talent situated in the atmospheric dungeon of the House of Detention. With industrial elements and raw brickwork being the backdrop almost everything looked amazing in the space. My three favourite designs being showcased there were Off the Rails, Archie Proudfoot and WLE London. All very different but with a hands on approach I really appreciated, especially the ability to customise and produce bespoke pieces. Equally the lighting shown by Rubertelli Design is made entirely by hand.
After work on Wednesday I came back to view Icon’s House of Culture at the nightclub Fabric. While reminiscing about the last time I was there (pie eyed and dancing like a wild thing) I was able to view a nicely curated selection of international brands most go whom I have also seen at Stockholm, M&O or Milan this year. Exposed industrial brick and metal ducts made for a unique environment, complementary to the finely curated selection of international brands. &Tradition looked particularly at home against the metal ducting and Nic Parnell whose work looks like marbling meets topographical maps was especially vibrant against the exposed brickwork.
I hope you were all following along on instagram and snapchat anyway and saw the great #cdw2016 whilst I was a roving reporting. A big thank you to the we blog design team for inviting me and if you have time I highly recommend you take 8 mins out of your day with a cuppa to watch this great video by Natasha Nuttal about our morning with we blog design at Clerkenwell design week. You'll hear me laughing - a lot!