Clerkenwell Design Week kicks off today for its seventh edition, and it has quickly become one of the hottest tickets in the Design event calendar. In 2015, over 35,400 visitors attended the festival, and 65% of those visitors were architects and designers. Set to be the most ambitious celebration of the distinctive and creative London quarter yet, it will host the best in design from around the world as well as home-grown talent.
Combining over 120 spaces filled with exhibitions, instillations, and live events, there is a whole host to see over the three days. Key changes to this year’s show aim to provide a rich and varied exploration of design and include a new layout, more destinations focusing on the use of public space, diverse architecture and the area’s strong roots in making. Sponsored by Renault, thousands of visitors are set to attend and it looks set to cement its position on the international cultural map.
The LuxPad has put together its top highlights of what not to miss at this year’s event below…
Tom Dixon always hits it out of the ball park when it comes to the brand’s involvement in design events, and this year’s Clerkenwell event is no different. The have collaborated with Andrew Baughen, the Vicar of St James’, a classic 17th century church on Clerkenwell Green. With a vision of the potential of making his unique building available to the daytime residents of Clerkenwell, the creative workforce, and a place for the residential community to use as a resource the two forces have come together. The partnership will involve them installing a large central chandelier in the main space, a co-working environment and a kitchen all to be donated as permanent fixtures.
The perfect backdrop to showcase the new Tom Dixon lighting and furniture products recently launched in Milan, the extraordinary volumes and the nooks and crannies of this heritage site include panelled wood of the 18th century vestry, the bar stone construction of the entrance hall and the huge volumes and stained glass panels of the main church.
New to the festival this year is the BD Design showroom, which will be bringing the works of Salvador Dali to life with their handcrafted pieces. Best known for artisanal furniture designed by leading artists, architects and designers, this will be the first introduction to the UK market for the Spanish furniture producer. They will open their Showroom on 12 – 14 Berry Street in Clerkenwell.
As part of the Showroom launch, BD Barcelona will preview a new Dali chair, ‘Invisible Personage’ which featured in the original Dali painting ‘Singularities’ (1935), created by co-founder and architect, Oscar Tusquets Blanca. According to Oscar Tusquets Blanca, “The surreal effect of these works lie, as the name suggests, in the depiction of the footprints of a character that has never been portrayed.” To create the chair, BD Barcelona looked for a non-synthetic material to create the hair using Tibetan sheep shearling, and ram skin shearing for the thread.
As part of Clerkenwell Design Week, Oscar Tusquets Blanca will be giving a rare talk about his prestigious career, inspirations and friendship with Salvador Dali, as well as the founding of BD Barcelona and its collaborations with some of the world’s most important contemporary creators and historic names.
Clerkenwell’s commercial design showrooms extend the area’s influence beyond London. This year, over 85 showrooms will take part in CDW, including Swiss masters of design Vitra. They will be creating an installation focusing on color and textiles, featuring the new colorways of the Polda sofa, by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius. Several top brands from Italy such as Moroso will also welcome design-savvy visitors to their Clerkenwell homes.
Be sure to explore all eight of the festivals venues, including the four specially constructed structures as well as firm favorites such as the Crypt of St James and the House of Detention. Running north to south there and lots of exhibitions to discover. Joining the line-up as an essential CDW destination and acting as gateway to Clerkenwell’s showrooms, Brewhouse Yard will be temporarily transformed for the festival.
Working with local partners, both of the Yard’s resident architecture practices Studio Egret West and BDP will transform large parts of the public domain to celebrate CDW and embrace purple as the color of creativity. Brewhouse Yard is set to be a new focus for CDW, with a dedicated café, information point, pop-up workspace for visitors, and programme events.
Design Fields, staged at Spa Fields, nest to one of Clerkenwell’s gems – Exmouth Market, is set to become a vibrant new destination for the show as CDW expands its boundaries north. Spa Fields is one of the important open spaces in Clerkenwell; Design Fields will bring the public realm into play for visitors and locals alike.
As part of this brand new CDW space OMMX has designed a series of temporary structures inviting visitors to explore innovations, events and presentations within Design Fields. Alongside some of the most exciting home-grown designer-makers, the show itself will present a diverse range of the best in international contemporary design.
Show Director William Knight explain’s why Clerkenwell is one of the world’s most exciting places to organize a design festival; ‘the history, commercial strength and occupying a special area in the world’s creative capital, it’s truly dynamic. With a series of changes this year we’re enhancing the visitor experience, offering more than ever before and reflecting the fact Clerkenwell has huge relevance beyond its borders.’
Clerkenwell is one of the most important design hubs in the world, home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anyone else on the planet. Today traditional crafts such as printing and bookbinding still flourish, alongside contemporary designers, independent producers and international brands
Supported by the local community, and directly engaging over 100 local businesses, CDW provides the opportunity to network with the business of design and enjoy the best of London’s history, food, drink and architecture. Clerkenwell Design Week runs from 24th – 26th May.