The design world once again descends on EC1 for a stellar array of installations, talks and launches
Jam-packed with creative businesses and architects, London’s Clerkenwell once again plays host from 23–25 May to its annual extravaganza of design. Spread out more widely than a few years ago, the festival is still compact and manageable, ranging from Design Fields in the north down to Icon’s own House of Culture in the south – via the usual array of exhibitions and events in numerous permanent and pop-up venues.
The Beacon, a 7.5m structure, will draw people towards Design Fields
Buzzijungle installation by Jonas Van Put and Buzzispace
Among the highlights every year are the installations commissioned specifically for the event. At one of the most striking locations in Clerkenwell, the historic St John’s Gate, design and fabrication practice Aldworth James & Bond will create Order, a multi-dimensional structure using 145 Corian octagons. Meanwhile, a 7.5m-tall viewing platform called Beacon will draw people towards Spa Fields. Inspired by the Tower of Babel, it will be adorned with typography that celebrates the area’s internationalism. Nearby, office specialist Buzzispace will show a new concept: a playful, elevated workspace-cum-adult jungle gym by Belgian designer Jonas Van Put.
Alongside the seven temporary exhibitions hosting brands that don’t have a permanent presence in Clerkenwell – including, this year, retailer John Lewis – more than 90 local showrooms will open their doors, staging special events and launching products. Vitra will show off its latest products within a ‘secret garden’ installation, while Carl Hansen & Søn will reveal its reissue of the PK1 chair by Poul Kjærholm for the first time in the UK.
Softshell side chair by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec
Collection by Poul Kjaerholm for Carl Hansen & Søn
Tiling showroom Domus will unveil both the LCS Ceramics Collection, developed in conjunction with Fondation Le Corbusier and based on the architect’s Polychromie Architecturale palette, and Kaza Weave, a 3D concrete tile by Stockholm-based Note Design Studio. Flooring company Bolon will present its latest range, designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. Over on Leather Lane, Pentagon Tiles will launch a new showroom – architect Simon Astridge has transformed an old car park for the purpose, using colourful, stacked shipping containers. Meanwhile, local eatery Albion will get a makeover courtesy of Anglepoise and Ercol, both of which will be launching items to furnish the restaurant.
Jean Nouvel’s new range for flooring company Bolon
Lara barstools by Ercol, which will be installed at cafe Albion
CDW’s main talks programme will take place at Design Fields, and feature designer Morag Myerscough, HS2 design-panel chair Sadie Morgan and architect Ben Adams, as well as discussions about future cities, flexible workspace and Brexit. Elsewhere, Moroso will present a discussion with Doshi Levien, Ege will announce its new Atelier collection by Christian Lacroix with a talk by the fashion designer, and Milliken will host a conversation with Jay Osgerby and Crafts Council director Annie Warburton. Meanwhile, at kitchen showroom Bulthaup, Design Museum co-director Alice Black will talk to Chris Masson from John Pawson’s office about his practice’s transformation of the 1960s Commonwealth Institute building into the new home for the museum.
Finally, Icon will again occupy the legendary nightclub Fabric for the House of Culture. Sponsored by Bang & Olufsen, the exhibition will feature brands such as Dare Studio and Catellani & Smith.
Above: Hakwood’s geometric installation of wooden tiles at Clerkenwell Close