What’s going on at Clerkenwell Design Week? – Day Three
I should begin with an apology for ruining the weather. Almost single-handedly, by constantly praising the gorgeous May weather in the previous two blog posts, I brought the rain down on Clerkenwell Design Week. At least for a little bit. While the morning was gloomy and overcast, the sun soon returned and brought about a (nearly) summery end to the week.
Bringing about an end to a busy first week of their new showroom, Ultrafabrics hosted a workshop inviting people to create small versions of the artwork that lines the space.
OeO have created a beautiful space, which perfectly reflects the hybrid vision of the company between Japan and America. In it, artwork adorns the walls and side space of the store, and Ian Smart, of Flint Fine Art Ltd., was the art fabricator for the studio space and helped to facilitate the original artists’ ideas. He told us a little bit about how this occurred:
“It was a 3 month project and it was actually very difficult to do. [The artwork] was going to be made of aluminium, but in order to get the complexity and the detail out of it that we wanted it would have cost far too much. Instead, we used stainless steel mesh and a fibre glass eproxy backing with a polyester top and laminate finish.”
Today, the artwork has been reduced to a smaller scale for guests to put together for themselves. Jamie Owens and Aaron Merriman, prop makers and art fabricators, were on site to help with the different stages of the design.
“We wanted to let people use the fabric and get a feel for it,” Jamie explained.
He explained to me how the workshop begins with a flat piece of material. It is then heated and put into a mould to mimic the exact shape of the original and to be able to be pieced in the smaller plinth.
Through the workshop, participants were able to understand the artwork from a design perspective. To take an idea and use new technology and materials to make a replicable piece of art.
The experience gave everyone a chance to really feel the fabrics that are on offer and with that, to appreciate the art in a completely new way. By providing a tangible and fun workshop Ultrafabrics managed to blur the lines between the product and the showroom.
After the success of the gin tasting yesterday, I had high expectations from Knightsbridge. Today, designer Alys Bryan was here to talk about the new range of three lounge chairs, Dizzi, she produced with the furniture brand.
She and Jason Brown, Director of Design and Development at Knightsbridge, spoke with Design Insider Live. The two first met here, at Clerkenwell Design Week, two years ago. Jason was here with Knightsbridge and Alys approached them.
“It was organic, and now we’re friends. We didn’t know each other before but it’s really worked, ” Jason explained.
Alys, too, appreciated the relationship between manufacturer and freelance designer: “There is a level of detail which can only be achieved because Knightsbridge are such experienced manufacturers.”
Now, they’ve come full circle and are sharing the space. Alys worked on Knightsbridge’s newest hospitality and workplace collection, but the versatility of the chair transcends this. As we noted yesterday, the chair didn’t look out of place when surrounded by a bar and lot of fancy gin – and it’s hard to think where the chair would look out of place. The three options: a lounge chair, and two arm chairs with and without reduced arms are malleable for any sort of environment. The compact footprint of the chairs mean that interior designers know that they can fit into the space they want them in, and the smooth design, as well as the quality of the overall production, mean that they won’t look out of place when they do.
Over to the extraordinary Barbican Estate and the incredible conservatory for the closing party of closing parties with the office furniture manufacturer Humanscale.
Hundreds of guests flocked to the conservatory, a brutalist paradise complete with palm trees and a trickling pond full of Koi Carp, and danced the night away, blissfuly ignoring the fact that CDW ends on a school night.
As quickly as it began, Clerkenwell Design Week came to a close. Three days of different people within the design world coming together to work and collaborate in all different kinds of ways. What cannot be avoided is the way that whatever part of the design world they were a part of, people were working together. This unity between different groups is something that brings everyone together and everyone can benefit from – from top to bottom. So too has there been a message of sustainability throughout the week, thinking of the future for our planet from a design perspective is essential.
Amid all of the excellent design there was lots of nice weather, lots of excellent drinks, a morning of quite rubbish weather, some free stuff, an abundance of brilliant caricatures, a couple of sheep and plenty of other things that I undoubtably missed. Clerkenwell Design Week was a perfect celebration of design in 2018 in all its different manifestations – let’s hope next years is no different.