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What to see during Clerkenwell Design Week

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Clerkenwell is home to the world’s largest concentration of designers, architects, creative agencies and showrooms, and for three days this week the area will be a hub of activity as Clerkenwell Design Week returns for the third year, writes Rakesh Ramchurn

Over 40 showrooms will be participating in the design festival, with a larger exhibition of interior design and architecture firms at the Farmiloe Building, modern design at the House of Detention and an exhibition of furniture and limited-edition pieces at the Order of St John. There will also be open air events and installations taking place in Clerkenwell Green and St John’s Square.

This is the AJ’s pick of the top five events to catch during the festival:

The Small Coal Man’s Tiny Travelling Theatre
Aberrant Architecture have revamped a campervan to create a small travelling theatre which will tour Clerkenwell during the festival.

The Small Coal Man’s Tiny Travelling Theatre will host theatre groups, poetry readings and comedy acts. Performances will be very intimate – the theatre can only seat six people at a time – but additional visitors will be accommodated on seats outside with drinks and ice cream served from the back of the theatre.

The travelling theatre takes its inspiration from The Small Man’s Musick Club, a small concert hall founded by Thomas Britton in 1678 in the rooms above his Clerkenwell coal shed.

For information on performance timings and locations click here.

Small Coal Man's Travelling Theatre by Aberrant Architecture

Small Coal Man’s Travelling Theatre by Aberrant Architecture


Solar Tree by Ross Lovegrove – St John’s Square
Solar Tree, a new sustainable street light designed by Ross Lovegrove and made by Artemide, will be installed in St John’s Square.

The street light is 6m tall and has 10 ‘branches’ with photovoltaic cells which collect solar energy during the day, four of which are equipped with LED lights for when it’s darker. The sculptured base of the streetlight also serves as a resting point for passers-by.

Solar Tree, designed by Ross Lovegrove, manufactured by Artemide

Solar Tree, designed by Ross Lovegrove, manufactured by Artemide


Eames: The Architect and the Painter – film screening at Vitra showroom
Vitra will be screening Eames: The Architect and the Painter at its showroom on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 May. The film, completed in 2011, uses archive footage, photographs, love letters and artefacts to explore the work of Charles and Ray Eames.

Screenings take place at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:30 at Vitra’s showroom at 30 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5PG.


Gen Lane
Gen Lane is a pop-up gin bar on the third floor of the Farmiloe Building which takes inspiration from Hogarth’s famous 1751 sketch Gin Lane.

Created by London-based designers Alexander Hills and Matthew Freeman, the bar will host events during the week, including a gin and canapés tasting event presented by Christoffer Hruskova from North Road Restaurant.

Gen Lane (Sketch: Alex Hills)

Gen Lane (Sketch: Alex Hills)


Gastronomic Clerkenwell
The Farmiloe Building will bring together an architect, a designer, a restaurateur and a food event specialist to discuss the future of the food industry, new developments in restaurants and food fashions over the next 20 years. Taking place on Thursday 24th May from 17:00-18:00.

Click here for a full programme of events.

Clerkenwell Design Week
22-24 May 2012

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