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Clerkenwell Design Week starts

May 24, 2011

This morning I attended the launch of Clerkenwell Design Week.  Now in its second year the organising team have done a great job to provide us with three action packed days featuring design events, exhibitions and parties!  This year the festival is sponsored by Jaguar and we got to see the Jaguar C-X75 concept car – promising to be one of the fastest low emission cars in the world.

Headquarters for the festival is the Farmiloe Building on St Johns Street.  Dating from the 1860’s, the building was home to the lead and glass merchants George Farmiloe & Sons until they vacated in 1999, leaving a very grand building built from Portland stone, white Suffolk brick and polished Aberdeen granite.  The building is now often used for filming (including Batman, Sherlock Homes, Marple and Poirot), and has been transformed by designers for the festival.  Some familiar names in occupation this week include Swedese the fabulous Swedish furniture company, product designer Lee Broom who is launching a range of parquetry inspired furniture for Deadgood, the wonderful Moooi and an old favourite Anglepoise.

Another interesting space used for the festival this year is The House of Detention.  Previously a Victorian prison, several designers have their products on show in the cells!  Part of the space has also been transformed by Sarah Wiestner, an artist and designer, using mirrors and lights to form an installation that questions our perception of space.  A short walk from the Farmiloe Building this is definitely a must see!

The schedule for this year festival is packed with great events at the many showrooms in the area, including Hands, Moroso, Vitra, Boss Design and Desso.  Having reviewed the programme, some of the events I hope to attend include:

Tuesday 24 May

1pm at Vitra: an ‘Upcycling’ workshop with Craft Central designers – the opportunity to make a wallet, purse or pouch for your phone, iPod or iPad.

5:30pm at Kohler: A presentation by hospitality design specialist Inge Moore of HBA London on ‘New hotel design trends and beautiful bathing spaces’.

Wednesday 25 May

1:30pm at Boss DesignNick Munro will give a presentation and share some thoughts on his interpretation of the subject of ‘design’.

5:30pm at InterfaceFLOR: Tweet up for all Clerkenwell Design Week attendees, sign up here.

Thursday 26 May

12:00pm at Kusch+Co: Open house with the product designer Norbert Geelen.

3:30pm at Hands: A presentation by Colin Watson from the Interior Designer Association on the new Chartered status of the IDA and the benefits of membership.

If you go to the festival don’t forgot to see Be a Pin Up, the interactive life-size pin art installation by Lulu Guinness.  It’s a wonderful fun additional to the festival and it can be found at St John’s Gate, Lulu was there this morning explaining the installation while several people had a go!  Take a picture of yourself with the installation and you might even win a prize from Lulu Guinness in their Facebook competition.

We are all very busy, and I know I am lucky as Clerkenwell is on my doorstep, but I hope you get the chance to visit Clerkenwell Design Week.  If you do, please let me know what your favourite part of the festival was – I just hope I have time to take it all in! 

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