Clerkenwell Design Week 2013: the highlights

The Farmiloe Building's atrium
(Image credit: press)

Clerkenwell Design Week (opens in new tab) is spreading its wings for its fourth and largest edition to date, offering design pilgrims a boosted line-up of product launches, exhibitions, installations, debates and workshops across three action-packed days in May.

With over 250 product showrooms, a plethora of creative and design studios, and the densest population of architects in the world, Clerkenwell has emerged as the UK’s indisputable design district. While the festival may not elicit the same level of frenzy as the recent Salone del Mobile, it is nonetheless a testament to the city’s increasing appeal to heavyweight brands - and likewise serves as a gateway for fledgling brands to an international design platform.

For the fourth year running, the Farmiloe Building is hosting the lion’s share of exhibitors, with the likes of Dare Studio (opens in new tab), Plumen (opens in new tab) and Swedese (opens in new tab) presenting their collections. Italian lighting brand Foscarini (opens in new tab) is making its inaugural appearance at the festival, taking pride of place in the atrium with a site-specific installation, alongside a showcase of its best-sellers on the ground-floor.

The subterranean dungeon at the House of Detention (opens in new tab) offers a one-stop hub for up-and-coming talent, such as Foundations Rugs (opens in new tab), which is launching a diffusion range of hand-tufted rugs, while another returning venue Order of St John (opens in new tab) is a sourcebook for decorating trends.

On display at the festival’s new pavilion focusing on surfaces, ceramic artist Lubna Chowdhary (opens in new tab) is presenting a series of ten Domus-tiled tables, modeled after Enzo Mari (opens in new tab)’s ‘Autoprogettazione’. Meanwhile, Domus (opens in new tab) is premiering Patricia Urquiola (opens in new tab)’s new collection for the brand, ‘Azulej’, in its showroom on Great Sutton Street.

This year also sees a slew of archi-centric fringe exhibits spilling out across Clerkenwell. Giles Miller Studio (opens in new tab) has installed a stainless steel and brass 'pixel' sculpture in front of a medieval gate. In another pop-up pavilion, not-for-profit organization Architecture for Humanity (opens in new tab) has created a village of four themed huts that embody the ethos of the charity. And the Zaha Hadid Design Gallery (opens in new tab) has also opened its doors to the public for the first time, offering a look at a never-before-seen archive of architectural models of both past and future projects.

A tunnel well as showcasing its best-sellers in a tunnel on the ground floor

(Image credit: press)

The new F-Type

Jaguar teamed up with the RCA to set a design challenge for students undertaking automobile or textile courses at the school. The winning design came from Ewan Gallimore and Claire Miller, with their prototype on display in the Farmiloe building alongside the new F-Type

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Table lamps

Having already designed for several international manufacturers, Norwegian-born designer Magnus Pettersen's studio is debuting as a standalone brand at the festival. His collection includes (from left): 'Beacon' table lamps; 'Locker' credenza and dresser; and 'Leimu' lamps

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Leather lamp

Hive' leather lamp, by Dare Studio

(Image credit: Dare Studio)

Harper lamp

Harper' lamp, by Dare Studio

(Image credit: Dare Studio)

Side table

Lela' side table, by & Then Design

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The third floor

The third floor of the Farmiloe Building this year casts a spotlight on established and emerging lighting brands, including newcomer Luminosity (pictured)

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Transport for London and restaurant chain Canteen presented the next instalment in their ongoing collaboration, with the mobile Canteen in the courtyard space

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The House of Detention

The House of Detention – a subterranean Victorian prison - returns as a venue for its third year, providing a dramatic backdrop for emerging designers to showcase their goods

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Hand-tufted rugs

Foundation Rugs teamed up with contempory artists and designers to launch a diffusion range of hand-tufted rugs. Pictured: 'Shapes', by Anthony Burrill

(Image credit: Anthony Burrill)

A village of themed huts

Pop-up pavilions were a new addition to the festival this year, with not-for-profit organization Architecture for Humanity installing a village of themed huts that reflect the ethos of the charity

(Image credit: press)

Church Garden with 200 chairs

Assemble Studio took over St James' Church Garden with '2 (Hundred) is company?', a continually changing installation of 200 chairs

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London-based Giles Miller Studio

London-based Giles Miller Studio installed 'The Heart of Architecture', a reflective stainless steel and brass sculpture in front of a medieval gate

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The Order of St John Museum

Nearby, at the Order of St John Museum, 'Design Exquis' is an exhibition of four designers from opposing disciplines. Based on the 'cadavre exquis' (exquisite corpse) technique, each designer's piece serves as a catalyst for the next participant in the chain, with the overall process outlined on this blackboard

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Birmingham-based furniture designers

Birmingham-based furniture designers Plant and Moss began the chain with 'Breathe', passing their finished piece to Dominic Wilcox, who in turn inspired Georg Oehler's product...

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Venus of Google

...finally arriving at 'Venus of Google', by Matthew Plummer-Fernadez, who adapted Oehler's design in his exploration of emerging digtial cultures

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New tile collection

Domus premiered Patricia Urquiola's new tile collection, 'Azulej', at its showroom on Great Sutton St

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Digital printing technique

Urquiola says of the collaboration, 'With the collection, we would like to evaluate the memory of hydraulic cement, experimenting an innovative digital printing technique, which enables the production of a high diffusion product'

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A mirrored tile installation

The festival introduced 'Covered' at Charterhouse Square, a new pavilion focusing on surfaces. Here, Capitol Designer Studio befuddled visitors with a mirrored tile installation...

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Ten Tables

...while a neighbouring installation, 'Ten Tables' by ceramic artist Lubna Chowdhary, comprised a series of tiled tables created in collaboration with Domus, and modeled after Enzo Mari’s ‘Autoprogettazione

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