Clerkenwell Design Week returned this year, with more than 24,000 visitors checking out both the event’s specially commissioned installations and a range of new and established designers, some of whom were showing products that had only just been unveiled at Milan.
The Farmiloe Building on St John Street was stacked three floors high with an impressive array of exhibitors including Moooi, which presented Studio Job’s colourful Gothic chair; Swedese; and Morgan Furniture, which launched a new modular seating system called Manhattan.
A new venue this year was former Victorian prison the House of Detention. A number of emerging designers took over the building’s cells and transformed them into showrooms. Ana Tevsic’s Twister lamp and Dari Bae’s chandelier with filaments incorporating hair (presented by the RAD Gallery) were among the more eye-catching exhibits.
Design enthusiasts who gathered around the area could experience at first hand Lulu Guinness’s life-size Pin Art Machine, which invited visitors to press themselves into a wall of nails and create their alter ego in outline. The wooden birdbox installation by London Fieldworks (featured in Icon 094) in Duncan Terrace Gardens highlighted the green spaces in the local area while the Emotion Maker, a collaboration between Plastique Fantastique, sound designer Lorenzo Brusci and composer Marco Barotti took Clerkenwell by storm with a doughnut-shaped, inflatable concert hall in St John Square North.
More than 150 thought-provoking talks, events and presentations added to the festive mood over the three days. At Icon Minds, FAT’s Sam Jacob and RCA tutors Onkar Kular and Noam Toran gave two talks on the theme of copying. “Design Crimes” with Max Fraser at Milliken initiated an exciting debate with industry insiders about the design world’s worst offences. At the Bene showroom, Professor Jeremy Myerson shared his latest research on how workplace design must respond to the rise of the “knowledge worker”. The celebratory atmosphere continued long into the evenings, with parties thrown by showrooms including Kush+Co, B-Loose and Koleksiyon.