The seventh edition of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) promises to be the best and most ambitious yet, as new locations, brands and installations join this vibrant festival in one of London’s most idiosyncratic and creative quarters. In a first for the festival, organisers have appointed architecture practice OMMX to create a strategic masterplan for the event. The plan marks a significant point in CDW’s development, with the format expanding to eight exhibition venues, a gateway destination to Clerkenwell’s showrooms, an installation trail and a brand new destination at Spa Fields. Clerkenwell Design Week, sponsored by Renault, will take place 24 – 26 May 2016 across Clerkenwell.
The new, integrated approach to planning the festival across both the temporary (exhibitions and installations) and the permanent (showrooms and fringe) will improve the flow and navigation around the many and varied elements, creating a compelling experience for the visitor as they explore all that Clerkenwell has to offer. OMMX, an emerging practice based in Clerkenwell, has developed a plan based on an understanding of context and experiential quality. OMMX’s work on the Clerkenwell Design Week masterplan will help build a cohesive story as the festival expands and develops. Hikaru Nissanke and Jon Lopez, Directors of OMMX, said: ‘We have worked collaboratively to realise an ambitious and exciting new chapter in CDW’s history. We are grateful for the organiser’s enlightened approach in continuing to commission young practitioners, their desire to make a lasting contribution and to make design more accessible in this critical part of creative London.’
New Venues and Exhibitions
New sites and structures will provide enhanced possibilities for exhibitions and programming; Design Fields, a large-scale curated exhibition of contemporary design, will be set in a specially constructed two-floor pavilion at Spa Fields, near the exceptional Clerkenwell destination of Exmouth Market. Design Fields is set to become a festival favourite with live content and temporary spaces designed to connect, relax and recharge. The park space at St James’s Church Garden will become a key destination as part of Clerkenwell Design Week’s new look with the new exhibition Project hosting leading international brands presenting furniture, lighting and product design, alongside the hugely successful interior products show Additions. A new show, British Collection, will showcase some of the UK’s most exciting homegrown talent within the barrel-roofed Crypt of St James’s Church. Each will enhance the wellestablished CDW exhibitions; Detail at the Order of St John and pavilion on St John’s Square and Platform at the unique underground space House of Detention. Long-time collaborators Icon Magazine will again stage Icon’s House of Culture exhibition at another iconic Clerkenwell destination; Fabric. Underpinning Clerkenwell Design Week, the area’s multitude of design-led showrooms is a vital part of this unique event. For the first time Brewhouse Yard off St John Street will act as a gateway to the showrooms, many of which are clustered close by. In addition, the Goldsmith’s Centre on Britton Street will also join the festival as a key destination for live content with fresh programming and activity throughout CDW.
Fresh Visual Identity
For 2016 London designers Studio Parallel have created a new visual identity for this year’s festival. The campaign, ‘Covered’, plays to the strength and variety within Clerkenwell Design Week, through five thematic images from furniture and lighting, design talent, to materials and architecture, all unified with the festival’s signature colour, magenta.
Paul Fox, Creative Director of Studio Parallel, said; ‘We feel that it’s the right time for a change in design direction. We worked to achieve the right balance to add a new visual narrative, and still make it instantly recognisable as Clerkenwell Design Week to the audience.’ Set designer Kei Yoshino and photographer Lydia Whitmore collaborated to bring the themes to life. Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 will celebrate the extraordinary creativity of the area with hundreds of events, from site-specific installations and new launches, to workshops and thought-provoking debates across a huge range of venues. William Knight, Show Director, Clerkenwell Design Week, said; ‘The expansion of Clerkenwell Design Week‘s exhibition programme to eight major locations is a sign of how dynamic the creative industries are in this area, and a testament to the successes of previous years’ shows. We have new exhibitions, a new masterplan and a new visual identity. But it is the energy and sense of community among architects and designers here that inspires us, and helps make the festival so unique in London.’ Festival events take place across Clerkenwell, and registration is free.
Clerkenwell is one of the most important design hubs in the world, home to more creative businesses and architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet. In the last two decades, Clerkenwell’s unique variety of buildings has been transformed into studios, showrooms and workshops, attracting architectural, design and creative practices. Part of the Borough of Islington, Clerkenwell is a dynamic area, with a long tradition with creative industries stretching back to the Industrial Revolution, where craft workshops, printmakers, clockmakers and jewellers thrived. Today traditional crafts such as printing and bookbinding still flourish, alongside contemporary designers, independent producers and international brands. Over 80 world-renowned design brands have their showrooms in the area including Arper, Bolon, Bulthaup, Poltrona Frau Group, USM and Vitra to name just a few. Clerkenwell houses more than 200 architectural practices, including BDP, Studio Egret, OMMX, Howarth Tompkins, Wilkinson Eyre, among many others. Clerkenwell Design Week activity is staged across an area measuring roughly 2.5sq miles