20-22 May 2014
Clerkenwell Design Week has now become an essential part of the design events that are taking place throughout the year in London.
It is such a pleasure that all venues are close to each other which makes it very easy In the street one could see many walking about with their maps, savouring the unexpected or expected design treasures they found on their way.
It had a nice feeling to it. The nice weather the day I went also helped. It also was the first year with Will Knight as the new show director.
A total of 62 showrooms participated in addition to the temporary showrooms which aimed to engage with visitors in unique environments. This was the first year that the temporary showrooms were given names. In addition to the spaces used last year, such as the Design Factory (Farmiloe Building), Platform (House of Detention) and the Detail at the Order of St John new spaces were used at the Crypt called Additions.
VITRA – TAILOR MY TOM VAC
My first stop was the Tailor My Tom Vac Exhibition at Vitra. Vitra invited over 20 architecture and design studios to reinterpret the iconic Tom Vac chair of Ron Arad, celebrating its 15 anniversary.
The brief was to explore Both novelty and memory in design, art and architecture, echoing Arad’s original brief from Domus in 1997. Arad responded by using vacuum-formed metal to design the Tom Vac chair. For the original brief Ron Arad stacked the chairs to a height of 16 metres in Via Manzoni, Milan.
The brief for those invited was the ‘no discipline’ method.
THE DESIGN FACTORY AT THE FARMILOE BUILDING
In the Farmiloe Building there was a great concentration of known designers, such as Dare Studios and Thorsten van Elten as well as new ones.
The exhibition again was sponsored by Jaguar.
Johnson Tiles collaborated with Ptolemy Mann to relaunch its Prismatic range of plain colour wall tiles which covered three of the Farmiloe Building’s ‘cowshed’ entrance walls.
Transport for London and the London Transport Museum
showed a great collection of UK-Based known and lesser known designers. Including Ella Doran.
Thorsten van Elten
I really liked Thorsten plates that he made himself.
Kathleen Hills producing lovely bone china tableware who has participated in Hidden Art exhibitions in the past. It was great to see her latest work.
It was great to see as in previous years Sean Dare from Dare Studios with his latest products.
ST JOHN’S GATE
In association with Turkishceramics. Tile Mile is a temporary installation that celebrates the products of different Turkishceramics brands. Mirrors create the impression of infinity within St John’s Gate. Parallel mirrors reflect both the vaulted ceiling of the arch and reflects the ceiling and the floor creating an illusion of an infinite ‘crypt’ like space.
Detail aimed to reflect the principles of fine craftsmanship and high glamour.
ORDER OF ST JOHN
In addition to products from a range of companies there was an exhibition of luxurious and sumptuous sofas and chairs of the Italian company Edra, one of my favourites. Their chairs contrasted magnificently with the historical surroundings of the Museum of the order of St John that tells the story of the Order of St John from its origins in the 11th century Jerusalem through to its role today.
ST JOHN’S SQUARE AND CRAFT CENTRAL
Detail continued on St John’s Square with a pop-up marquee. There was also an exhibition in the Craft Central Gallery.
ADDITIONS AT ST JAMES CHURCH AND CRYPT ON THE GREEN
In addition to stands there was a talk by Lago at the Crypt. Interior life conversations, speakers include Nigel Coates and moderator my friend Virginio Briatore.
Also to be found here was the stunning wallpaper by Custhom.
PLATFORM AT HOUSE OF DETENTION
The Clerkenwell Catacombs are all that are left of the former House of Detention which was demolished in 1890 and where now the Hugh Myddleton School building is based. The Catacombs were reopened as airraid shelters during the Blitz. Here there was a great variety like last year. One of my favourites this year was DesignK who had a small but exrtremely suitable space in one of the small coves.
Dieneke Ferguson, July 2014