Every May for the past ten years Clerkenwell has sprung to life with a festival of design which brings a flutter of pink flags, enticing pink lines and arrows on pavements and paths and a wealth of design originality on many street corners. Clerkenwell has long been an area of London which has attracted designers, architects, makers and craftsmen as well as showrooms with an abundance of showrooms and studios.
The design week is a celebration of this concentration of design brilliance and, historically, the sun has always shone upon the proceedings – this year was no exception. In warm, summery weather, I joined the press tour around the historic streets and loved hearing about the history of the area and the way today’s designers (and the installations commissioned by Media Ten, organisers of the week) reflect the history. There are fascinating and witty vinyls on walls – take a trip down ‘Pissing Alley’ – now more delicately named Passing Alley and hear about its past as a place where convicted prisoners drank their last pint and relieved themselves there before being clapped in irons in one of the many prisons which used to exist within the area.
Around every corner there are fascinating things to see and spectacles to marvel at. It was fun to pause by the Aeron Hockey space in Brewhouse Yard, presented by Herman Miller, where teams played a bonkers version of hockey whilst coursing around on wheeled office chairs.
Within St John’s Gate there is a timber structure designed by scalerule.org which reflects the geometry of the gate and plays with the idea of space and enclosure.
I loved the Bottle House – a clever new way to recycle empty plastic bottles. This simple structure made with just bamboo and twine, plus hundreds of bottles provides a kind of greenhouse or even a small shelter.
The handsome Moth Pavilion has been set up within Design Fields on Northampton Road has a great line up of speakers. I was lucky enough to hear Neisha Crosland being interviewed by Bethan Ryder about her life and career – fascinating stuff.
Clerkenwell Design Week run from today until 23rd May http://www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com #CDWfestival #CDW10 #CDW2019