Clerkenwell Design Week

As the sun sets on the inaugural Clerkenwell Design Week, the consensus is generally positive. The sun was shining, people had an excuse to leave the office and for the first time in what felt like an eternity, there were wall-to-wall parties. What’s not to like?

The Farmiloe Building, star of many a Hollywood blockbuster, transformed into a mini Zona Tortona and was the focal point for most of the weeks events. Established brands like Hitch Mylius and SCP sat comfortably alongside Dare Studio, Mark and Tokyobike.

Scene, flushed from their success in Milan (see our previous post here) brought together 10 young designers under the umbrella ScenePlus, showcasing products from Warm, Lina Meier and Gareth Neal amongst others.

Our favourite brochure/press pack came from London design studio Patternity. Nice branding.

Deadgood brought their own portable showroom to Clerkenwell, showcasing designs by Max Lamb, David J. Irwin and Deadgood’s very own Ziglam & Brook.

Away from Farmiloe, the showroom events attracted big audiences. Everything from colour in the workplace to life-drawing classes were over subscribed and the Patrizia Moroso/Tord Boontje talk at the new Moroso showroom was standing room only.

Acoustics At Work's Ros Lambert-Porter made what could have been quite an important-but-dry CPD on Acoustics in the Workplace entertaining and easy to understand. Highly recommended!

Our favourite event was Pecha Kucha at Modus. Topics ranged from materials and crafts used on a recent project by Michael Sodeau to Luke Pearson's love of bicycles, but speaker of the night was Sam Johnson highlighting the legacy of the Victorian building boom on modern life with photographs of his own house.

The Poltrona Frau showroom turned into the London Design Village, showing the latest products fresh from Milan. It also provided the venue for the Week’s closing party. Plenty of Prosecco and hundreds of tired but happy revellers.

Hopefully Clerkenwell Design Week will be back in 2011. In the meantime, we hope organisers look at ways to encourage visitors into the smaller showrooms in the side streets around St. John St. Not all of the showrooms are on the main road and not all of them are on the ground floor. It would be great if these showrooms could enjoy the same number of visitors as the big hitters like Vitra, Boss and Bene.

To sum things up, anecdote of the week from a friend who hopped into a black cab only to be asked by the cabbie what was happening. Having seen visitors wandering up and down Clerkenwell Road studying their pink design maps, the cabbie had assumed it was a gay pride event! Clerkenwell Pride!

Richard HealyComment