Experimental outreach: all the highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016
Every year, London’s design pilgrims flock to Clerkenwell for the area’s annual Design Week. Set over three days, this year marks the seventh edition of the ever-growing event, that took on a broader area of the East-Central London location, hosting talks, new releases, installations and workshops.
Big changes were brought to the usual festival format this year due to the Farmiloe building no longer hosting the central contemporary design hub that is Design Fields. The move sent it to a pop-up location, set on the green Spa Fields; and while some may argue that isn’t Clerkenwell proper, we appreciated the green repose in the sunshine, witnessing designs arriving fresh from Salone del Mobile by the likes of Petite Friture, Dedon and H Furniture, as well as noteworthy new releases from +Halle and Another Brand.
Icon’s House of Culture returned for a second year, and though hopes were high for the re-location to nightclub Fabric, it didn’t have the show stopping quality of the Old Sessions house from last year. The range of brands on view, however, made it worth the trip, with Expormim, & Tradition and Stellar Works displaying their eloquent new pieces.
Tom Dixon put on a ceremonial show of his Milan releases. Settling inside the Grade I listed St James Church, just off Clerkenwell Green, the 17th century space was a grand backdrop for the glistening wares. Taking centre stage in the nave was an enchanting chandelier made out of the brand’s ’Curve Pendants’, set to stay as a permanent design fixture.
A wealth of new spaces showed for the first time, including newcomer BD Barcelona, who opened its inaugural London space to coincide with the release of a Salvador Dalí-inspired chair. Meanwhile, design emporium Clerkenwell London played host to ’Go’ – a new 3D printed wheelchair by Benjamin Hubert, alongside a crafted exhibition titled ‘Design Undefined’ that included a plethora of experimental works such as geometric cakes by Kia Utzon-Frank, a materials installation by Matter and handmade oak pieces by Tree Couture in the forest escape basement space.
As always, site-specific installations took up the outdoor spaces. A transfixing tiled installation, ’Billboards’ by Giles Miller and British Ceramics Tile, guided guests along the exhibition route, and a flowing plywood pavilion by GCSE students titled ’Future of Design’ in the garden of St John’s Square marked the show’s first educational project.