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What to see at Clerkenwell Design Week

Shinola Detroit pavilion designed with Giles Miller Studio
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As the annual design celebration gets underway, the AJ’s Rupert Bickersteth picks the best things for architects to visit

There are literally hundreds of events before, during and after the official three-day schedule of Clerkenwell Design Week and it can be overwhelming to see the wood for the trees, or rather the truly interesting and innovative projects and events amidst the many everyday product launches – although if sofas are your thing, you will be more than pleased with the offering.

Architecturally speaking, the CDW Presents programme is perhaps the highlight of the international design festival, now in its eighth year. CDW Presents brings specially commissioned public installations and pop-up pavilions to the streets of Clerkenwell. Fringe is another relevant part of Clerkenwell Design Week for architects. Embracing creative professions beyond the furniture, interiors and product design industry of Clerkenwell, the Fringe programme sees many architecture practices hosting various screenings, receptions, talks and exhibitions.

This year the design and manufacturing brand Shinola Detroit in the traditional pavilion spot in St John’s square (pictured). The Bolt is a unique collaboration with London materials designer Giles Miller Studio and is ‘a large-scale piece of architectural culture’ showcasing Shinola Detroit.

Buzzijungle by BuzziSpace

Buzzijungle by BuzziSpace

Buzzijungle by BuzziSpace in Spa Fields, Northampton Road

With the weather set to be warm and sunny, BuzziSpace’s outdoor workspace BuzziJungle feels especially welcome and relevant. They claim the climbing frame structure is the first outdoor workspace incorporating a multifunctional picnic table to work, meet, lunch and enjoy drinks with colleagues. The brand’s ‘no boundaries’ vision ‘stretches beyond the traditional confines of the workplace, to create happy and healthy environments’. Try it for yourself at Spa Fields, Northampton Road.

Hakwood – wood flooring manufacturers – sponsors a fun folly entitled Double Vision in Clerkenwell Close – a four metre-high structural installation of recursive patterns in white and blue that provides ’an uplifting moment while walking the exhibition route’.

Double Vision installation by Hakwood

Double Vision installation by Hakwood

Double Vision installation by Hakwood in Clerkenwell Close

As part of the Fringe programme PRP is hosting a fascinating-sounding event entitled The Change Exchange: Platforms, Roles and Players in Urban Regeneration – an interactive workshop on the intricacies of regenerating cities. Ben Adams Architects also engages with the challenges of thinking about the development of cities and the role of design in the built environment with its latest project pointless.city. If you enjoyed the most recent issue of the AJ go along to the panel discussion on workplace design that Ben Adams Architects is hosting at 80 Clerkenwell Road. More exploration of cities and global culture in a historic locale come courtesy of the Musuem of London and a trio of walking tours they are running this week.

With so much on it is a case of picking and choosing what to see and do – but failing that, you can just wander out into Clerkenwell and the activity of design week (and the hot pink branding) will prove inescapable and energising.

Visit the Clerkenwell Design Week website for full listings

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