14/06/2016 Véronique Le Fort

On a recent spring day, we explored the streets of Clerkenwell for the design week of the same name. Located in central London, Clerkenwell is a lively area and a design destination housing creative agencies and numerous furniture showrooms. Visiting the design week is actually a good oportunity for spending some time exploring this lovely neighborhood from top to bottom as there are seven different venues spread out across the area.

A great place to visit anytime of the year but even more exciting and inspiring when it’s the Clerkenwell design week! We encountered wonders you only find during these type of events: Tom Dixon transformed a church into a temple of design, &Tradition made us want to redecorate our home right away and not only that but three of the designers we represent happened to be displaying there great work all at the same time at the same place!

We have a special emotional link to this mini design week as it was this event last year that inspired greatly the beginnings of Heidi & James. Showcasing design objects with attitude in picturesque locations is a great combination. Here is a snapshot of our favourite design pieces of this seventh edition of CDW.

Our visit started at the Icon House of Culture hosted at the famous London nightclub Fabric. As we walked down underground we were visually welcomed by Leaf, a magnificent sculpture by Haberdashery made of 536 bone china leaves in gold lustre and white glaze.

Leaf by Haberdashery

Going further down the stairs and into the old arches of the nightclub, we found ourselves face to face with the beautiful collection of Danish company &Tradition. It is difficult to say what grabbed our attention first as the stand was subtly curated. There was the Palette desk by Jaime Hayon that plays with shapes and colours for a superb result nodding to Alexander Calder’s sculptures. There were also the 1971 Flowerpot pendant and table lamps by Verner Panton who haven’t aged a day and spread colours and playfulness. We were also quite keen on taking the whole set of True Colour vases home but unfortunately there is not much space left for bigger design pieces, which really means we need a bigger apartment!

Palette desk by Jaime Hayon, &Tradition
Flowerpot table lamps by Verner Panton, &Tradition
Flowerpot pendants by Verner Panton and Mayor sofa by Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Lassen, &Tradition
True Colour vases by Lex Pott, &Tradition

Moving on, we had a crush (and still do) for the work of Inga Sempé for Wästberg. Not only is w153 île a great piece of design, but it celebrates the genius of clamp lamps that offers endless possibilities. Catellani & Smith displayed their magic with Sorry Giotto (which is actually blue so even switched off it is a masterpiece), Wa Wa and Light Stick.

w153 Île by Inga Sempé, Wästberg
Sorry Giotto by Catellani & Smith
Light Stick and Wa Wa by Catellani & Smith

It is always a special moment to catch-up with the designers we represent and discover their new design pieces. Our friends from Di Classe introduced a beautiful dark green version to the existing Arles range and are soon launching a floor lamp version that has been widely asked for! Other iconic pieces from Creative Director Domei Endo such as the Foresti pendants created a unique atmosphere.

Arles floor lamp, Foresti and Orland pendants by Di Classe

As we casually walked on to the next venue, we had the pleasure to accidently bump into Jacob Pugh who had come from York to have a wander around just like us. This is another reason why Clerkenwell is such a nice design week: a small yet plentiful area.

The exhibition Additions showcased accessories from a selection of emerging talents. Our dear Taz Pollard launched a new collection of vases exploring contrasts of materials, textures and colours with her very own quirky touch. Other big favourites of ours were the marble work of Hayden Martis and the wallpaper from Elli Popp.

Falloff bowls by Hayden Martis
Parallelworld wallpaper by Elli Popp

Tom Dixon impressively took possession of St James classic 17th century Church to show their prolific collection. The original scenography subtly merged contemporary design with classical religious background. And the result was there: an immense chandelier hanging above the middle of the church welcomed visitors walking down the aisle while the altar was transformed into a presentation of delicate tableware. It was very clever idea to highlight the beauty of the church by showcasing new design pieces from a brand that does not need any introduction anymore.

The Church by Tom Dixon

The specialty of Clerkenwell is also to feature bespoke installations along the way to surprise visitors as they walk from one venue to the other. This year, historic St John’s Gate featured a 4.5 metres high temple of timber referring to the monastic past of the district. Everything was thought through so that us visitors could have a great time without worrying about directions. Special signage and billboards were created to keep us on the right track, a good demonstration of functional graphic design. Beautiful sculptures made of back-lit square tiles showed us the way until the end of our visit. Eventually reaching Design Fields exhibition, our day ended up on a very sweet pink note at +Halle. We left Clerkenwell reenergised with many design pieces in mind such as the beauties of Petite Friture, trying to mentally visualise which of these we could integrate into our next personal project… Our fingers are still crossed on this one and hopefully we’ll tell you more about it very soon.

Heidi & James

Hakfolly by FleaFollyArchitects
Billboards by Giles Miller Studio
K2, Sally and Stella by +Halle
Vertigo and Francis by Petite Friture