Blog, Exhibitions, Press Show Picks

Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Clerkenwell design week is one of the most anticipated design events of the year. It is a bit of a misnomer as ‘the week’ only lasts for three days.

Each year the design practices, interior companies and product designers open their doors for visitors to enjoy what is new and engaging in the design industry. Every year Clerkenwell Design Week presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Inviting some of the leading pioneers in the creative industry, these projects aim to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities. They are created to challenge visitors’ perception of design application, as well as to inspire and entertain them. Previous participants include Cousins + Cousins architects, Studio Weave, Gruppe, Assemble, Monotype, OKAY Studio, Johnson Tiles, Grimshaw Architects, Sebastian Cox and more.

Once Upon a Time draws on the rich and sometimes dark historical tales of EC1. Working in collaboration with UAL Chelsea College of Arts, BA Graphic Design Communication students, stories from 6 locations were brought to life by a series of graphical installations. Below are three of them.



Passing Alley – By Rory Brown

This modern memorial honours the 66 Martyrs who were burned alive at the stake for having protestant beliefs. Displaying the names of all 66 Martyrs killed in the Smithfield this design echoes the geometric style of the church’s stained glass windows.

St James’s Church Garden – By Alistair Ramage

The House of Detention has a very rich history with tales of failed escapes and destruction. In 1867 an attempted escape went tragically wrong as a bomb ruptured a nearby gas main killing 12 people. Known as the ‘Clerkenwell Outrage’ this design uses geometric illustrations to represent the explosion in a modern way.


 
House of Detention – By Natasha Lopez

The winning concept for St John’s Gate responded to the theme of history and heritage by proposing a new structure that subtly draws on the historic form of the St John’s Gate arch whilst bringing in materials and geometries that reference the design culture of Clerkenwell today.

The concept plays with the idea of space and enclosure, by inserting a densely built timber structure within the void of the archway.  This is then carved away to allow a route through and to frame the historic features of the site.  The timber frame is filled with moments of colour that intensify towards the top of the arch, drawing visitors’ gaze upwards towards the historic architecture.  This colour is created by using recycled materials and fabrics, that reference the design identity of the area.

While on the site, the pavilion highlights details of the archway and draw parallels to the 10 year anniversary of Clerkenwell Design Week.  When moved to a new location, the pavilion will take with it the geometry of the archway to act as a casting of the original site.

Another inventive, and close to my heart, installation was Bottle House. Designed and constructed by WSP Design studio, BottleHouse is made from disregarded plastic bottles and applies skills in architectural design, engineering and construction to transform an empty bottle into a building block-forming a unique shelter.

Herman Millar presented Aeron Hockey – a fun, fast paced sport played on Aeron Chairs. Not sure your boss will be too delighted if you decide to play this in your office.

The House of Detention housed some of the artisan  designer makers and start up companies. These included BLWM by Nia Rist prints, a collection of monochrome hand printed home wares celebrating all things pattern.

A new innovative company is Spitfire they have a range of very nice felt covered lamp shades and furniture.

Turbine
Turbine detail

My conclusion, a great show yet again, and I have only touched on a fraction of what was there. If you missed it this year make sure to put it in your diary for next, it is well worth a visit.

Press Show Picks, Uncategorized

Picks from Pulse 2018

Every May, Pulse, described as ‘Where trends are born’, showcases different brands and makers, in one venue, Olympia. Retailers come to see and order for their shops. Some of the items will be available this summer and others will be around for Christmas. Here are some of my favourites.

University of Arts London, show work of some of their alumni. Designer Abigail Burch already holds a degree in illustration and is currently completing her MA at Camberwell School of Art. Her work brings a smile to my face. I adore her fat ladies  with hairy legs.

abigailburch

Fat ladies

Another UAL graduate is Shannon Hayes who studied Fashion Jewellery at London College of Fashion. Her bright playful and fun work sells under her grandmother’s name Peggy Beard.

 

peggy beard snake

Graphic and textile designer Elena Scarlata trained at London college of Communication before returning to her native Italy and setting up her company. She hand prints onto sustainable fabrics and then turns these into accessories for the home.

Elena Scarlata

sea bream

The Jewellery Emporium showed many new designers. I particularly liked the work called ‘Made by Carolinee’. Her work is created from recycled Aluminium.

Made by Caroline

The show is divided into sections included are gifts, textiles, home ware, fashion and children. In the Children’s category are  Eat Sleep and Doodle , they have been around for a while and continue to grow. Each fabric  product comes with  a line drawing on it. There are  different themes including Dinosaurs, a world map and much much more. The joy is that each item comes with its own ‘wash off’ pens so your child can have loads of fun. Once completed the design  can be washed off and they can start again.

Eat Sleep Doodle

Another inspired Kid’s idea is BKD which comprises baking kits for kids, for time pressed parents,  This company started by a mum, was originally an events company but the kits took over and it  has won so many awards that they have expanded into other kinds of kits.

 

BKD

Noodoll design are based in London. They produce  quirky cards, note books and soft toys. I like their shelves, which only became a product after they made some for a trade show and everyone wanted to purchase them.

noodoll

In contrast to some of the more fluffy designs ‘Block‘ produce a completely different look, clean cut and elegant. At the same time they are colourful and fun and would sit well in an office or home environment.

block

There is little to beat  utilitarian home ware when it is presented well. Iris Hantverk from Sweden are a company who do just that. They produce lovely brushes and also textiles.

Iris Hantverk

As a lover of most things ‘Scandiwegian’ and particularly linen towels, I was delighted to come across the Finnish Company  Lapuan Kankurit. Owned and worked by the same family for four generations, they still do their own weaving on Jacquard looms, although not using the old card system. They kindly allowed me to use their press images  for this feature, so I can’t take credit for the lovely photo shown here. I hope you have enjoyed my visual tour as much as I have done.

lapuankankurit_sade_towels

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