The annual design showcase moves into some unusual locations for this year’s event, offering up a host of unique experiences.
Now in its seventh edition, Clerkenwell Design Week is bigger than ever, with four new exhibition venues and a focus on site-specific installations and experiences. Running until 26th May, this year’s event stands out for its repurposing of historic spaces – including a disused prison, a buzzing nightclub and a majestic church – with the latest products and concepts from contemporary design brands. Here’s our pick of the top five destinations for your must-see list.
Immerse your senses at Hassell’s Sensorium
Design practice Hassell has collaborated with Scandinavian brand HÅG on Sensorium, a structure that stimulates all five senses. On entry to HÅG’s showroom, visitors walk through a lush landscape of plants and flowers, while inside the metallic structure of the Sensorium they’ll discover cut-out viewing points, scented smoke and a virtual reality experience that brings a fantastical digital environment together with a physical prop that will make you feel as though you could be running your hands through water. Topping the experience off, freshly-made candyfloss contributes the ‘taste’ part of the multi-sensory concept.
Go furniture nightclubbing at Fabric
London nightclub Fabric has been repurposed as an exhibition space for the first time for the Icon House of Culture, a show that brings together select exhibiting brands with a cafe space run by the design magazine. Mixing the club’s hazy neon lighting and DJ booths with a finely-curated trade show feel, the House has a unique atmosphere that somehow works in bridging two very different worlds.
Find design spirituality at Tom Dixon: The Church
Fresh from taking over a deconsecrated church in Milan, Tom Dixon has taken up a more low-key, but equally atmospheric residence at St James’, a 17th century church on Clerkenwell Green. Statuesque lighting and furniture, a co-working space, and a soup restaurant can be found inside the church; after CDW wraps up, the proceeds of the restaurant will go towards running a real soup kitchen later this year, and the furniture that makes up the co-working space will remain in place at the church for the local community to use.
Get hands-on at the Museum of Makers
White Arkitekter and engineers Price & Myers have teamed up to produce a modular, portable pavilion that they hope will go on to have many lives. Its first life sees it housing The Museum of Makers – a display and demo space in which craftspeople from a range of disciplines are getting hands-on with materials and processes for the duration of Clerkenwell Design Week. We tried out metalsmithing, aided in punching out our own pendant jewellery by experts from The Goldsmiths’ Centre; the next two days will offer architectural card making and urban upholstery.
Walk through a Folly
FleaFollyArchitects has teamed with wood flooring manufacturer Hakwood to create HakFolly, a “temple of timber” that sits within the arch of St John’s Gate. Aiming to instil “a fleeting moment of calm” as you walk through it, the structure smells distinctly of freshly cut timber: a small but nonetheless important experiential element to inaugurate your trip around Clerkenwell’s design district.