Last month, the Artifact Lighting team headed up to London to have a look around Clerkenwell Design Week and find inspiration for our own exhibit at Designjunction this September. Hundreds of international brands showcased their designs in some of the most interesting buildings around Clerkenwell, including church crypts, a prison and a nightclub.
Our first stop was the Icon House of Culture, where Icon magazine took over the infamous Fabric nightclub to display a variety of lighting and furniture brands. The brick vaults, once used as meat stores for Smithfield Market, were home to some innovative and unique designs. Bang & Olufsen took over an entire room to debut their new audio system BeoSound Shape. The wall-mounted speakers were framed by an intriguing light installation by Flat-E studio; white LED strips created an illuminated walkway through the space, the structure producing a surreal effect, almost like a mirror maze.
One of our favourite exhibitors at the Icon House of Culture was Bert Frank. Their jungle-like display stood out among the clean, minimalist stands. Modern pendant lamps were hidden within the greenery, creating an indoor oasis in the midst of the bustling design festival.
Detail, the destination for luxury interiors with a focus on craftsmanship, was our next stop. In the Crypt, some of our team got involved with a live woodcarving demonstration by Michael Northcroft. The intricate furniture designs fit well within architecture of the church, some of which dates back to the 12th century.
Next, we checked out British Collection and Project, in the grounds of St James’s Church. In the Crypt on the Green, homegrown brands including DeVol Kitchens and Lozi, showcased their heritage designs, while in a temporary structure in the church grounds, contract furniture and lighting brands displayed their latest products.
The most interesting venue was Clerkenwell House of Detention, which played host to emerging brands at Platform. Former prison cells were filled with contemporary designs while the hallways were lined with various products from printed mirrors to portraits made out of Lego.
The 15th century architecture of the subterranean cells was at odds with the modern designs and technology. ‘Resound’, organic amplifiers for use with smart phones, by designer Camilla Lee, were a great innovation, combining the old aesthetic of gramophones with modern day technology.
Our final stop was Design Fields in Spa Fields Park. The ‘Beacon’ by Perspex dominated the entrance to the park with colourful acrylic panels adorning the tallest installation of the festival. The bold exterior encased a staircase leading up to a viewing platform 7.5m above EC1.
Another impressive structure in the park was BuzziJungle by BuzziSpace, a multifunctional climbing frame for adults, on which visitors were encouraged to climb. The design is the first outdoor workspace, a multilevel outdoor office that “challenges the traditional confines of the workspace.”
The outdoor attractions were only the beginning as more leading brands were inside. European brands, including Zeitraum and Swedese, displayed mid century inspired designs and pastel coloured furnishings.
The innovative designs and unique exhibits served as inspiration for our entire team as we begin to plan and design our own stand for this September. From the plant-filled booth in Fabric to the minimal product focus at Design Fields, Clerkenwell Design Week was a design frenzy that will be sure to influence our appearance at Designjunction later this year.