As some of you may be aware from my Instagram, it’s Clerkenwell Design Week / Clerkernwell Three Days this week – one of my favourite times of the year when the streets around Farrindon and Barbican are absolutely buzzing with the design industry. As part of We Blog Design we were approached to organise a blogging tour and not one to miss out on a chance to see some of my very favourite ladies I set right to it, trying to round up the best that Clerkenwell had to offer. Of course with only a few hours of everyone together it was easier said than done, as there is so much on offer during this time of year and everyone is vying for attention and offering various talks, events and plenty of alcohol to entice you in. I thought I would share with you the bloggers’ tour route we took yesterday for now but I will be returning tomorrow so watch this space (and social media) for more from Additions and Icon House of Culture.
Stop One | Arper
We started off the tour at Arper with some much needed coffee and a few introductions amongst bloggers. It was great to see a good turnout and Arper are the digital hub of the event meaning this is the main space dedicated to bloggers and digital press attending CDW2016. The Digital Hub is offering free WiFi and refreshments, all in a gorgeous setting complete with orange and grey hues and some graphic acoustic panels which might just pump out some tunes if you ask to see how they work.
Stop Two | Tom Dixon
Of course it is quite clear that I’m a mass Dixon fan so when I heard he was installing his lighting in The Church and was going to talk to us all about it, I was suitably pleased. Having collaborated with Andrew Baughen, the enlightened Vicar of St James’, a unique workspace for the residential community of Clerkenwell has been created as well as a large central chandelier hung in the main space, a co-working environment and a kitchen which have all been donated as permanent fixtures. The church itself is wonderfully breathtaking but with the addition of Dixon this is probably where I’d like to get married! If you do visit, make sure to head there around lunch time when you can by some soup from The Soup Kitchen, where proceeds will go to an actual soup kitchen later on this September.
Stop Three | HakFolly
The arch of St John’s Gate always makes for an interesting installation and this year is no exception. FleaFollyArchitects and Hakwood have designed and created ‘HakFolly’, a 4.5m high temple of timber which hopes to bring a moment of calm to Clerkenwell. The architectural lines of the structure against the arch are simply wonderful and you may even catch a glimpse of the pink HakFolly bike which you can potentially win!
Stop Four | Vitra
As one of the first initial Clerkenwell showrooms, Vitra holds a lot of history in the Clerkenwell design scene, so it was imperative we paid a visit. The showroom has had a colour makeover this year and all of the spaces have been arranged to reflect a different zone: MEET | READ | RELAX | REFRESH | CONNECT. I fell in love with the textures and colours of the red area as well as the brand new Hack workstation which is making me really crave a much bigger home to move it in. For now I’ll have to stick with the eye washi tape!
Stop Five | Sensorium Installation by HÅG and Hassell
Although a little on the outskirts we were told that the Sensorium was not to be missed and indeed, it was worth the extra calories burned. The presentation plays with smells, textures and sounds to present a unique experience that questions how we view the world. Having tried on a pair of virtual reality goggles and experienced some rather weird sensations, I was ready to move on to the steamy smells and a reward of candy floss at the end. This was probably one of my favourite experiences of the day and the most photographable due to the gorgeous triangle mirrors and coloured translucent film, make sure you get down there!
Stop Six | Billboards
With the layout of Clerkenwell having changed just a little and some new venues on the map, Giles Miller has created some rather inventive wayfinding structures in collaboration with British Ceramic Tile. The handmade glass scales looks sublime in the sunlight, creating a ripple effect that simply can’t be captured and with over 8,000 tiles used across the four billboards, you can only image how much time has gone into creating each one. The pieces illuminate at night, hopefully guaranteeing a few less lost, drunk people in the maze of Clerkenwell.
Stop Seven | Platform
An essential stop for any female in the design industry is the We are the Women area in Platform, curated by Laura Lea and Sarah Evans. More of a ‘girl power’ statement than a feminist movement, this is all about female empowerment and progressing women in the design industry and with nine very talented ladies all taking part it’s hard to see why they’re not at the top already. The epitome for me has to be Augusta Akerman who shone with her surface pattern design and elegant yet graphic sample fabric collection. I want to wrap myself in her patterns so here’s hoping she gets some good offers from potential collaborators. Arlette Ess was also right up my street with her detailed patterns and mysterious drawings. I loved the pop of colour in the collection and I’m told you can pick up scarves at Laura Lea Design in Leytonstone – you’re welcome!