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Tuesday 21 May 2013
Words Spindle

Opening a festival, design district and world of creativity for a celebration of all things design.

What seems to be the fastest grown design week in the history of time has hit central London once again. The location itself is already a hub of cutting edge architecture, media and design with a claim that there’s more Architects per square mile of Clerkenwell than anywhere else on the globe!

Well then, what better place to host the 2013 Design festival? This time CDW boasts and array of international design showcased in over 250 galleries, workshops, showrooms, studios and exhibition venues, all within a 10 minute stroll. This is however in no way a disjointed affair as interludes of design present themselves in outdoor interactive installations. From a three way ping pong table to a trippy transparent miniature labyrinth, it feels like Clerkenwell’s come alive in celebration of design for festival goers, design enthusiasts and passers by alike.

Here’s a run through of Spindle’s favorites to get you going, but check out the line up of events, exhibition, seminars and workshops here to make sure you don’t miss out!

Given the aforementioned, an external interactive installation seems a good place for our recommendations to start. Based in St. James’ Church Garden in a cut through between two of the larger festival venues is an ever evolving landscape of 200 chairs designed by Architecture collective Assemble. Triangular in shape and reorganised at random intervals, the low-cost prototype chair is based on DIY making with a simple unit design forming complex, transient geometric arrangements. Take a seat for a ponder, create a banqueting table for lunch or build a mountain of chairs, you decide!

A new venue for this year’s event is the pavilion focusing on surfaces in Charterhouse square. Step outside and discover that ceramic artist Lubna Chowdhary has applied  graphic tiles to a series of ten tables which, due to their exterior context, create beautiful contrasting reflections of the surround trees. This not only marks the pavilion’s territory but creates a unique meeting place for festival goers.

Design Exquis returns to Clerkenwell Design Week with a brand new exhibition inspired by the surrealist technique know as Exquisite Corpse. Here there is a staged process of design, similar to that of chinese whispers, where each design’s primary influence is kept secret from the subsequent designer. From a chain of ideas and responses, passed from one designer to the next, the exhibition’s base point of a simple stethoscope emerges a collision of medical instruments, feathers, rubber, 3D printing and lung shaped lamps which meet in four separate designs at The Museum of Order of St. John.

As advocates of emerging talent, Spindle’s gotta love House of Detention, a historic network of prison cells conversely dedicated to providing rising stars in the design industry the opportunity to collaborate with well established companies and present their products to audiences from across the world. The festival’s sponsor Jaguar have embraced a similar form of collaboration through teaming up with RCA students to question what Jaguar’s future design language looks like. Is it linear or curved? Rigid or fluid? Technical or organic? Find out at their stand in the Farmiloe Building.

All of this is combined with pockets of fun such as competitions to win iconic chairs dotted around Clerkenwell in perspex cubes and the Willy Wonka takeover in Elite Office Furniture’s showroom. Get yourself down to Clerkenwell this week to grab of piece of the action!


Words: Mary Howell