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Clerkenwell Design Week 2017

Posted by Karen Smart on 26 Jun 2017

Every year I go to check out Clerkenwell Design Week to see what’s trending in the design world (and to have a cheeky drink or two of course).

This year CDW took place from 23 to 25 May – a three-day period where the EC1 area of London is populated by designers, architects and furniture brands. Venues including the House of Detention, Spa Fields, Fabric nightclub and St James Church played host to a number of brands and exhibitions.

This year, in particular, I wanted to check out some of the specially commissioned public installations which had sprung up around the district.

Below is a brief overview of some of the best ones I went to check out.

I headed straight to the Design Undefined exhibition to check out a light art installation called Sectum Spectra by multidisciplinary artist Jordan Söderberg Mills. He used light, colour and mirrored surfaces to create an optical illusion-filled immersive space.

Sectum Spectra is an installation in glass that projects cascading bands of colour, using physics to play with our perception of light. This includes a series of anaglyphic mirrors, which refract colour into multiple planes, and seem to create digital filters on the real world.

I then went to check out Double Vision by Hakwood. The Flooring company had installed a four-metre-high structure in the narrow passages of Clerkenwell Close.

The installation had two sides decorated with boldly coloured patterns that guided visitors along the exhibition route.

Cutting through St Johns Gate I came across Order by Aldworth James & Bond using Corian octagonal interlocking components. The octagonal form was inspired by the Cross of St John. The structure celebrated the arch as a gateway to the design festival, and its design is firmly rooted in the rich history of Clerkenwell.

‘Order’ pushed the boundaries of component based digital fabrication by forming 145 700mm Corian octagons that connect together in nine sections, forming a unique multidimensional structure. It measured almost three metres in height and over five metres in length. The material’s strength is integral to ‘Order’, truly showcased the versatility and benefits of using Corian as a structural element in manufacture.

Next on my list to check out was The Beacon by Perspex. The Beacon, supported by materials company Perspex, was this year’s biggest installation. Measuring at 7.5 metres tall, the rainbow-hued structure was based on Tower of Babel – a biblical structure from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

Located in the Spa Fields area, the tower was open for visitors to climb, with a viewing platform offering expansive views of Clerkenwell.

As it started to get dark I decided to finish off my evening in St Johns Square where a pavilion made from 8,000 lightning-bolt-shaped pieces of plywood had been created for watch brand Shinola.

Called The Bolt and designed by London based Giles Miller Studio the pavilion was made from 8,000 lightning-bolt-shaped pieces of plywood.

Miller’s team were approached by Shinola, as the brand wanted to showcase its products to an audience in Clerkenwell, as the area has a history with artisan watchmakers.

The black-painted shingles, which were each CNC-cut by Cut Online, had been placed by hand onto the structure and were angled specifically to control the amount of light that entered the pavilion.