The design of today doesn’t fit in boxes; it builds bridges between disciplines, between art and technology, between innovation and heritage. For Clerkenwell Design Week 2016, multi-sensory design space Clerkenwell London celebrates the breaking of rules and theconfounding of expectations, with exhibitions and events that question assumptions and champion fresh thinking.
Design Undefined brings together some of the most inventive design thinkers of today for a celebration of the fresh and unconventional, featuring RCA fellow Kia Utzon-Frank, London Design Guide’s Max Fraser, Seetal Solanki of Matter, Katie Treggiden of Fiera magazine and Troo Heath-Crew of Tree Couture. In addition to their central exhibition, Clerkenwell London is also delighted to announce that globally renowned industrial designer Benjamin Hubert of experience-design agency Layer will also unveil his latest project – GO, the world’s first fully personalised 3D-printed wheelchair – alongside a hand-picked selection of the studio’s most recent work.
From 24 to 26 May, Clerkenwell London brings together some of the most innovative figures in contemporary design for a packed three-day programme of workshops, demonstrations and exclusive product showcases. Makers and thinkers from across the design spectrum will occupy various areas within Clerkenwell London, each offering a unique perspective on design, materials and the meaning and function of objects.
As a venue, Clerkenwell London itself is almost impossible to categorise, encompassing an interiors and accessories store, fashion boutique, perfumery, restaurant, café, bar, lounge and event space – all flowing seamlessly into each other. It is a place that celebrates design in all its forms, and which invites visitors to relax, shop, dine, drink and open themselves up to the discovery of new objects, experiences and talents.
Sara Carter, Chief Marketing Officer, Clerkenwell London
“Since we opened our doors last year, Clerkenwell London has never been easy to classify. For Clerkenwell Design Week, we wanted to present something that reflected our own boundaryblurring nature, and conceived Design Undefined as a way of looking at design from a fresh perspective and of celebrating the people and ideas that resist simple categorisation, that break the mould, and that turn conventional wisdom on its head in the pursuit of innovation.”
DESIGN UNDEFINED | DESIGNER LINE-UP
A goldsmith, sculptor, inventor, designer, cake decorator and all-round creative polymath whose work defies pigeonholing. Clerkenwell London commissioned Kia to create a bespoke version of her beautiful and innovatively engineered Louver Twisting Comb shutter system, which will be on show in the window display.
Kia will also be taking over The Keep, Clerkenwell London’s glass-encased showroom to mark the launch of her KUF brand and present a genre-defying selection of other pieces from her practice, including jewellery, string sculpture and her astonishing KUF Cakes – delicious geometric cakes almost indistinguishable from polished blocks of stone and marble. A series of workshops will give visitors the opportunity to try their hands at jewellery-making, string sculpture and more.
Exhibition open >> 10am–8pm each day, 24th-26th May
Curator, writer and editor of the London Design Guide will be exploring the personal attachments that humans have to certain objects and the hows and whys behind this sentimental impulse. Max has selected 24 individuals to each choose a single object and comment on what it means to them.
Displayed in the Wine Keep downstairs, the objects revealed may not be luxury or even ‘designed’ items, but rather things that tell a story and have special provenance linked to them – it might be something that was inherited from your grandmother, it could be an object that was found in a Parisian flea market for 50 cents; it could be something that is wonderfully functional in daily use, or a tactile article that’s simply a pleasure to handle.
Exhibition open >> 10am–11pm each day, 24th-26th May
Katie Treggiden | The Fiera Edit
Founder and editor of Fiera magazine, which provides a biannual platform for the best work from upand- coming designers discovered at global design fairs. For the duration of the event, Fiera has a room of its own at Clerkenwell London, and Katie has selected three emerging international talents from different design disciplines to showcase their work, offering a glimpse of the innovations we can expect to see in the design world of tomorrow.
They include architect and designer Marta Bordes, whose new Elastic Lights use coloured elastic cords to bring movement and play to traditional ceramic structures; product designer and furniture designer Katharina Eisenköc, whose Stone&Mirror series explores the tension between man-made materials and natural resources; and Novocastrian, creators of beautiful furniture from brass, stone and steel.
Exhibition open >> 10am–8pm each day, 24th-26th MayFiera magazine, edited by Katie Treggiden Elastic Lights, Marta Bordes | Photography Yeshen Venema Green & Brass table, Novocastrian Stone&Mirror, Katharina Eisenköc
Seetal Solanki | Materials Matter
Founder of materials agency and research resource Matter, Seetal Solanki will use Clerkenwell London’s Fashion Room to explore the possibilities and applications of three materials: aluminium, marble and bamboo, with workshops and discussions devoted to one material on each of the three days.
By bringing together unexpected combinations of objects and highlighting unusual material uses, Seetal will cause us to question our preconceptions about what things can be made of.
Exhibition open >> 10am–8pm each day, 24th-26th MayMarble Quarry | Photographer Laura Casey Interiors
Aluminium Ingot | Courtesy of ecvv.com
Makers of contemporary fine furniture in solid sustainable hardwoods, Tree Couture will be displayingtheir collection of limited edition pieces at Clerkenwell London, as well as laying bare some of the processes of crafting luxury furniture through live demonstrations in their on-site atelier.
During the three days of Clerkenwell Design Week, Tree Couture founder Troo Heath-Crew and her team of craftsmen will be hand-making her latest design, ‘The Valet’ – a 21st century reinvention of a gentleman’s 19th-century sartorial essential. Traditionally a cabinet designed to hold the clothing and accessories for the day, Tree Couture’s valet takes a historic piece of furniture and reinvents it to meet the needs of the modern day.
Exhibition open >> 10am–8pm each day, 24th-26th MayGaiola Credenza side board | Tree Couture
Benjamin Hubert presents ‘GO’ Reinventing the Wheelchair
Clerkenwell London is delighted to host the debut of GO – an advanced prototype of the new 3D-printed wheelchair created by industrial designer Benjamin Hubert and his experience-driven agency, Layer. Motivated by the potential of design to improve the lives of consumers and contribute to the betterment of the world, Hubert and Layer have turned their expertise to radically improving one of the world’s most medically important but, design-wise, long-neglected, products.
For the first time, the power of 3D-printed technology has been harnessed to allow wheelchair-users to personalise the specification of their chairs using their own biometric data. Inspired by the widely varied needs of users, GO is the first wheelchair that is truly person- and disability-specific. Fully customisable, it represents a complete rethinking of the wheelchair in terms of both functional requirement and the design language it is expressed in.
GO will be available to view at the centre of Clerkenwell London 10am–8pm each day, 24th-26th MayGO, the world’s first 3D printed wheelchair | Benjamin Hubert, Layer
In addition, Benjamin is refurnishing Clerkenwell London’s Vinyl Lounge with an exclusive selection of the studio’s latest works, including:
- Cradle, a new living collection comprising high-back chair, low-back chair and room divider, created in collaboration with Italian furniture maker Moroso.
- Charge Tray, a collection of four slip-cast ceramic trays with integrated induction charging for renowned Italian ceramics brand Bitossi Ceramiche.
- Beacon, a new range of lamps for Italian lighting brand FontanaArte, exploring the decorative potential of caustics – the patterning of light rays reflected or refracted by a transparent curved surface and projected onto another – and of how light itself can be used as a design element.
- Airmesh, a series of six super-lightweight bags – including backpack, tote bag, messenger bag, briefcase, laptop sleeve and iPad sleeve – for Italian accessories brand NAVA.
Tuesday 24 May
8.30am – 10am: Opening Panel Talk
Design Undefined begins with a discussion with Kia Utzon-Frank and Seetal Solanki, hosted by Katie Treggiden. The panel will explore the ideas behind Design Undefined, discuss their respective careers, their status as women in the design industry, the boundaries they’ve crossed and the pigeonholes they’ve sidestepped in the course of their work. 155 Bar & Kitchen will provide breakfast. Tickets: free
1pm- 2pm: Matter ‘Aluminium’ Discussion
The first of Clerkenwell London’s materials sessions, Seetal Solanki hosts a one-hour discussion exploring the material properties and applications of aluminium across numerous media. Tickets: free
6pm–8pm: Wine with Design
To coincide with Wine Week, Clerkenwell London’s 155 Bar & Kitchen spends an evening celebrating the meeting of wine and design, with a showcase of fine-wine labels and an exploration of how label design influences the way we taste. Four specially selected wines will be available for tasting during the session. Tickets: TBC
Wednesday 25 May
10am–12 noon, 1pm–3pm: Matter ‘Bamboo’ Workshop
In the second of Clerkenwell London’s material sessions, Seetal Solanki showcases the remarkable ways in which designers use bamboo in their work, and the wide array of products it can create – with contributions from Clerkenwell London’s in-house tailor David Newell. Tickets: free
4pm–6pm: Functional, Fashionable Furnishing
Tree Couture’s Troo Heath-Crew and David Newell of Newell Bespoke discuss the significance of Troo’s latest design, the men’s valet, and exploring how great lifestyle design depends upon securing that sartorial edge. The Q&A will include a whisky tasting and nibbles. Tickets: free
Thursday 26 May
10am–12 noon, 1pm–3pm: Matter ‘Marble’ workshop
Seetal ends her material sessions with an examination of the power and possibility of marble, as she and fellow exhibitor Kia Utzon-Frank explore the various techniques that can be used to incorporate the aesthetic beauty of marble into everyday objects. Tickets: free
Thursday 7.30pm – midnight: Closing Event
An exclusive Clerkenwell Design Week closing party hosted by Benjamin Hubert, including live DJs, food and drink from 155 Bar & Kitchen. Info at clerkenwelllondon.com.